My best ever round - Grace
St Andrews - South Africa's Branden Grace birdied his five closing holes to go to within one stroke of breaking the European Tour's magical 59 score on the opening day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Thursday.
Grace, a three-time winner already this year, bettered the course record on St Andrews' Kingsbarns course by two strokes with a 12-under par 60 for what he termed his best round ever.
"It could have been a 59 as I said to Zach (Rasego - caddy) when I hit it stiff on 18 that it could be close to a 59," said Grace.
"I had some opportunities, but you know, I never really made anything long.
"They were 12 to 15 footers in, which was nice, and it's nice just to have a bogey free round on a links course.
"You can say Kingsbarns is the easier one out of the three courses, but it's nice to get in these conditions and you can take advantage of it.
"But that round has to be my best ever. I won last year back home and the final round, the conditions were tough and it was playing long and I think it was good prep for this week."
The previous course record of a nine-under par 62 was set by England's Lee Westwood on route to victory in 2003.
Grace's score was three strokes fewer than his previous best Tour round of 63 recorded in last year's Joburg Open and matched this season in the Africa Open.
Grace's round of 60 was the lowest on Tour since England's Kenneth Ferrie shot a course record similar score in last year's Open de Andalucia.
While Grace was working his magic at Kingsbarns, Frenchman Victor Dubuisson produced a new course record of a nine-under par 62 on the famed Old Course despite dropping a shot at his 16th hole.
Dubuisson's round was one stroke fewer than the previous low of 63 set by three players including Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during the 2010 British Open.
Leading and selected first round scores in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the Old Course St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, Scotland on Thursday (GBR/IRL unless stated, par 72):
60 - Branden Grace (RSA)
65 - Joel Sjoholm (SWE), Anton Haig (RSA)
66 - Magnus A Carlsson (SWE), Alejandro Canizares (ESP)
67 - Richard Bland, Kristoffer Broberg (SWE), Andrea Pavan (ITA)
68 - Craig Lee, Anthony Wall, Jorge Campillo (ESP), Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR), Simon Khan, Graeme Storm
69 - Damien McGrane, Estanislao Goya (ARG), Paul Waring, Matthew Baldwin, Jose Manuel Lara (ESP), Gary Boyd, Shane Lowry, Lorenzo Gagli (ITA), Bradley Dredge
70 - Peter Whiteford, Kieran Pratt (AUS), Peter Lawrie, Josh Geary (NZL), Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Andy Sullivan, Keith Horne (RSA), Gregory Bourdy (FRA)
71 - Terry Pilkadaris (AUS), Nick Cullen (AUS), Darren Fichardt (RSA), Adam Crawford (AUS), Christiaan Basson (RSA), Richard Green (AUS), Edoardo Molinari (ITA)
72 - Jaco Van Zyl (RSA), Matthew Griffin (AUS)
73 - Mohd. Siddikur (BAN), David Gleeson (AUS)
74 - Allan Versfeld (RSA), Himmat Singh Rai (IND)
78 - Ryan Haller (AUS)
At St Andrews
62 - Victor Dubuisson (FRA)
63 - Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN)
64 - Alexander Noren (SWE), Ashley Hall (AUS), Fredrik Andersson Hed (SWE)
65 - Richie Ramsay, Jamie Donaldson, Thongchai Jaidee (THA)
66 - David Drysdale, Tommy Fleetwood, Danny Willett, Richard Sterne (RSA), Oliver Fisher
67 - Daniel Denison, Stephen Gallacher, Michael Campbell (NZL), Pablo Martin (ESP), Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Lee Slattery
68 - James Kingston (RSA), Joost Luiten (NED), Thomas Bjorn (DEN), Benjamin Hebert (FRA), Dylan Frittelli (RSA), Scott Jamieson
69 - George Murray, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN), Chris Wood, Richard Finch, Sam Little, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA)
70 - Gary Lockerbie, Marc Warren, Ross Fisher, Anders Hansen (DEN), David Lynn, James Morrison
71 - Brett Rumford (AUS), Shiv Kapur (IND), Jbe' Kruger (RSA), Andrew Dodt (AUS), George Coetzee (RSA)
73 - Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP)
74 - Matthew Zions (AUS), Peter O'Malley (AUS)
67 - Oliver Wilson, Gregory Havret (FRA)
69 - Alex Cejka (GER)
70 - Steve Webster, Rich Beem (USA), Martin Kaymer (GER)
71 - Colin Montgomerie, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Padraig Harrington
72 - Hennie Otto (RSA), Thomas Aiken (RSA), Peter Hanson (SWE), Tjaart Van Der Walt (RSA)
73 - Pariya Junhasavasdikul (THA), Ernie Els (RSA)
75 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Darren Clarke, Rohan Blizard (AUS), Paul Lawrie, Shaun Micheel (USA)
76 - Paul McGinley
For gorgeous gifts at gorgeous prices, click here for the ultimate Christmas gift guide from Clicks.