Sunday, September 29, 2013


Peter Uihlein, the 24-year-old American and a rising star of world golf, produced one of the most stunning finishes even the Old Course has seen as he slam-dunked his wedged second shot into the hole on the iconic 18th green to give himself a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Uihlein’s dramatic eagle two came just 24 hours after he had failed by just inches to shoot the European Tour’s first 59, at Kingsbarns on the second day, and meant his seven under par 65 and three-round score of 20 under par kept hi m two shots ahead of a chasing pack of no fewer than six golfers on 18 under which includes former major winners Ernie Els and Martin Kaymer.

Also just two shots behind Uihlein are Englishmen David Howell and Richard McEvoy, who like Kaymer shot 63 at St Andrews, Irishman Shane Lowry, whose 64 at Carnoustie matched Els’ eight under par round on the Old Course, and Holland’s Joost Luiten.

Describing his eagle two, Uihlein said: “It was 47 yards to the hole, and I was trying to pitch it about 42 and pitched it 47, so it worked out! The Old Course is awesome. I think it's the best course I've ever played. It was fantastic, it was fun to play. We got lucky with the weather and with the wind not blowing, but it was just an absolute joy.”

The tournament, conceived as a celebration of links golf, is played over three of the world’s best known and respected links courses - the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and the highly regarded Kingsbarns Golf Links.

Els is seeking a first victory in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship to match the 1992 win he had at St Andrews as part of South Africa’s team in the Dunhill Cup. He said: “I needed a change. I've been in a bit of a rut playing in that FedEx over in the States and almost playing week to week, and kind of going brain dead. You know, you don't know exactly what you're playing for, and I was in a bit of a rut there. So to come here and play with my dad as my amateur partner on these beautiful links courses makes a change and that's what I needed.

“I'm in a great position, but there's a lot of guys in there. It will be a great shoot-out tomorrow, depending on the weather. If it's sunny again tomorrow, it will be quite amazing. There will be a lot of birdies made, but we'll see. I've got a nice chance, and we'll see what happens on the back nine.”

Germany’s Kaymer, a Dunhill Links winner in 2010, had nine birdies in a flawless 63 while Howell packed an eagle and eight birdies into his 63. Luiten’s 68 at the Old Course and McEvoy’s 67 at Kingsbarns keep them very much in the mix.

Partnering the professionals over the first three days have been an enthusiastic group of talented amateur golfers, who compete for the Alfred Dunhill Links Team Championship. That group has included Hollywood actors Andy Garcia and Hugh Grant, plus an A-list group of showbiz stars, including Don Felder from The Eagles, Riverdance idol Michael Flatley, Kyle MacLachlan of Desperate Housewives fame and his fellow actors James Nesbitt and Luke Wilson.

A trio of Britain’s greatest sporting knights – Sir Ian Botham, Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Steve Redgrave – have led a locker room of sports legends, also featuring cricketers Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis, Allan Lamb, Mark Nicholas, Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan and Shane Warne, Dutch football gia nts Johan Cruyff and Ruud Gullit, rugby stars Sean Fitzpatrick and Rob Louw and popular former British tennis No.1 Tim Henman.

McEvoy and New York banker Michael Zamkov retained their lead in the Team Championship on 36-under, heading the 20 teams who have qualified to play in Sunday’s final round. They have a five-shot lead over Uihlein & Bradley Neil, the 17-year-old Scottish Boys champion who was a late replacement for injured rock star Huey Lewis, and Thomas Levet & David Sayer.

“It’s just surreal,” said Neil, who plays off a handicap of plus four. “The entire three days so far has been a surreal experience – but I’m absolutely loving it and I cannot wait now to play the final round.”

Neil hopes to be a professional golfer himself one day, perhaps after emulating his partner Uihlein and playing in the Walker Cup, the amateur game’s greatest honour for American, British and Irish golfers, but for now he is just ma king the most of his lucky break in being called up into the tournament on Tuesday night.

“The call came at 9pm and it’s been an unbelievable experience so far,” he added. “Playing with Peter has been great. He’s also a young guy and so relaxed out on the course, and he’s been helping me with my game as well has having a laugh and a joke. To watch him up close, as well as the other professional in our four-ball such as Ernie Els on the second day and Retief Goosen today is just incredible for me.

“I thought being there when Peter shot his 60 at Kingsbarns was special enough, as it could easily have been the European Tour’s first 59, but pitching in for an eagle two at the eighteenth hole today was perhaps the only way to top it! For myself, to be able to go out now in the final group on the last day, and hopefully to see Peter win the event and possibly help him to win the team title too, is simply amazing.”

Amateur players who have also qualified for Sunday’s final day include Botham, MacLachlan and Grant, who says finishing in the top 20 teams is a golfing ambition at last realised.

To access the live scoring for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, please direct your web browser to: and click on LIVE SCORING



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