Dunne challenging and just one off the lead at Limpopo Championship

Adam McKendry

Paul Dunne (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Adam McKendry

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An excellent bogey-free opening round in Limpopo has Paul Dunne just one shot off the lead after the opening round of the Challenge Tour’s Limpopo Championship in South Africa.

The Greystones man carded six birdies on his way to a six-under 66 at Koro Creek Golf Club – the second of the two courses in the rotation – which has him in an early tie for seventh place on a day of low scoring as six players hold a share of the lead.

All six of the leaders played their first rounds at Koro Creek, with the tougher Euphoria Golf Club welcoming them for the remainder of the tournament, with England’s Jonathan Thomson and Germany’s Freddy Schott among the leaders.

They are joined by Spanish trio Jordi Garcia, Ivan Cantero Gutierrez and Emilio Cuartero Blanco and home favourite Hennie du Plessis at the top of the leaderboard after all six recorded 65s.

Dunne, who started at the 10th, is just one shot behind them after he strung together three birdies around the turn after two early birdies to reach five-under, and he would finish his day with another birdie at the fifth to start his tournament strongly.

Holywood teen Tom McKibbin continued a fine start to his season with a four-under 68 at Koro Creek that has him tied for 30th after the first round, however it is a testament to how low scoring the day was that Kinsale’s John Murphy carded a two-under 70 at the same course and is battling for the cut in a share of 71st.

Meanwhile, it was a tough day for Richie O’Donovan, who was six-over after his first three holes at Euphoria GC and would eventually sign for a seven-over 79.

At the top, Schott looks to be a man in form coming off a tied-fifth finish at last week’s SDC Open and he hopes he can carry that momentum into the second round and then into the weekend.

“The good finish last week is still in my mind,” he said. “Everything is working out and I’m very happy. I putted well, took advantage of the par fives and overall it was a good round for me.

“I know Euphoria from last year so I am excited to go out and play that course again. It will be a challenge but it definitely gives me a confidence boost after my first round at Koro Creek today.

“These run of events in South Africa have been great for everybody. They have given us the chance to go out, compete and compare yourself against guys you wouldn’t normally come up against.”

Italy’s Lorenzo Scalise shot the best round of the day at Euphoria, a six-under 66, to sit alongside Dunne in seventh.

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