MALELANE, South Africa (AP) — Defending champion Charl Schwartel birdied the last hole for a share of the first-round lead at the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Championship on Thursday.
Schwartzel tapped in on No. 18 for a 66 to join Paul Dunne on 6 under at Leopard Creek Country Club. Schwartzel is a four-time winner of the Alfred Dunhill and has claimed the title in three of the last four events.
Home favorite Schwartzel made most of his gains on the back nine, with five birdies coming home. Ireland’s Dunne made four birdies either side of a double-bogey six on No. 9.
The European Tour is in full swing again just two weeks after Henrik Stenson won the 2016 Race to Dubai title. The Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Australian PGA Championship, which also began on Thursday, are the first tournaments of the 2017 season.