Thomas Bjorn two clear after a 64
Four days after losing out in the Seve Trophy team event, Thomas Bjorn bounced back to take the lead in the Dunhill Links Championship on Thursday.
A scintillating eight-under-par 64 by last week’s Continental Europe captain earned the 38-year-old Dane a two-shot advantage over British pair Gareth Maybin and Ross McGowan.
Bjorn, like last week’s victorious Britain and Ireland skipper Paul McGinley, is strongly tipped to be an assistant to Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie next year.
The Dane hit one eagle and six birdies at Kingsbarns in the Dunhill Links pro-am event being played on three courses.
It was the sort of form Bjorn showed to claim nine European Tour titles and two Ryder Cup appearances. It also demonstrated he still has the game to play for Montgomerie rather than be his assistant.
“I’ve said all along I’d love to work for Monty if I didn’t make the team,” Bjorn told reporters. “But Paul and I are very much aware we are going to have to give it a go (to try and make the team) because we don’t have many years ahead of us.
“When you drive it as well as I did today, it all started adding up again for me. I’ve been very disappointed with my golf for the last two years.”
“I took a lot of inspiration from both sides (last week),” added Bjorn, the tour’s tournament committee chairman. “You don’t see anything you haven’t done yourself but you see the way they stay with the round and don’t go up and down so much.”
McGinley began his campaign with a 69 at Carnoustie.
Tour rookie Maybin, who lost out in a playoff for the South African Open title earlier this season, carded his 66 at Kingsbarns.
McGowan, third in last month’s European Masters, returned his 66 at St Andrews.
India’s Jyoti Randhawa, Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, Dane Jeppe Huldahl, Spaniard Jose Manuel Lara and Britons Richie Ramsay and Michael Hoey were all on 67.
Rory McIlroy, lying third on the money-list, can go top by finishing runner-up this week as Race to Dubai leader Martin Kaymer and second-placed Paul Casey are out injured.
The 20-year-old Northern Irishman, playing with his father Gerry in the pro-am event, returned a 68.
Britons Lee Westwood (73) and Ross Fisher (72), who also have a chance of topping the money-list, made disappointing starts.