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Paul Dunne sizzles in South Africa to take early lead at Alfred Dunhill Championships

Not a bad start to the season for the 24-year-old.

Dunne signed for a 66 on Thursday.
Dunne signed for a 66 on Thursday.

PAUL DUNNE OPENED his European Tour season with a stunning round of 66 to seize the early initiative at the Alfred Dunhill Championships in South Africa.

After taking a six-week break, the Irishman looked re-energised at Leopard Creek as he carded eight birdies to sit top of the leaderboard alongside home favourite Charl Schwartzel.

The pair are tied on six-under par with another South African, Brandon Stone, a shot further back in a group of six players including Scott Jamieson and Pablo Larrazabal.

Dunne retained his full playing rights for the 2017 season after finishing 106th in the Race to Dubai standings and the break appears to have done him the world of good.

The Greystones golfer earned €260,793 in prize money in his debut season on the Tour but endured frustrations throughout with just two top 10 finishes and seven top 20 finishes to his name.

He showed no sign of a hangover on Thursday as he picked up shots on the first, fourth and seventh before holing out at the eighth for a birdie three.

A double-bogey six followed on the next but Dunne recovered after the turn with four further birdies to sit pretty after the first round.

Jack Hume, meanwhile, recorded a one-over par round of 73 to sit in 91st while Darren Clarke had a round to forget, as a quadruple bogey nine on the last saw him sign for 78.

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