Colsaerts in the hunt as Soderberg leads Dunhill Links

Padraig Harrington is down the field after a 73
Padraig Harrington is down the field after a 73 Padraig Harrington is down the field after a 73

RYDER Cup vice captain Nicolas Colsaerts showed no signs of a hangover from Europe's triumph in Rome as he outshone three of his victorious players to sit just a shot off the lead after day one of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Home hero Robert MacIntyre and England's Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood were the big draws in Scotland after starring in last week's 16.5-11.5 win over the United States but it was Belgian Colsaerts who carded a 65 at St Andrews to sit at seven under, one behind Spaniard Adri Arnaus, Swede Sebastian Soderberg and American Peter Uihlein.

Soderberg had pulses racing at the thought of a 59 over the Old Course as he birdied eight of his first 10 holes but made no more progress as he was caught by Uihlein and Arnaus.

Uihlein, one of several LIV players teeing it up on an invite in Scotland, lost out in a play-off at this event 10 years ago and he was bogey-free with eight birdies at St Andrews in just his second DP World Tour event in five years.

Arnaus was playing at Carnoustie - the toughest of the three layouts this week - and he was also bogey-free, starting with three birdies and adding an eagle on the 14th in a 64.

Colsaerts was playing the Old Course and he made five opening birdies after starting at the tenth, bogeying the treacherous Road Hole but picking up further shots on the first, third and fifth.

The 65 was his lowest score of a season where he has made just five cuts in 20 starts, and the 40-year-old admitted he had been inspired by last week's win in Italy.

"Inspiration to say the least," he said. "I've always thought there was still a little bit of a stud inside me but when you get to spend a week with 12 of them, we're trying to land as softly as possible from the high of a couple of days ago.

"Everything felt a little bit gloomy and dark after the ride of emotions last week, and no expectations whatsoever, and started hitting good shots and played a lovely round.

"When you throw anybody with a bit of talent in last week and then you play golf the week after, it is inspirational."

Home favourite Grant Forrest was alongside Colsaerts after playing Kingsbarns, two clear of Fitzpatrick, four ahead of Fleetwood and five clear of MacIntyre, with the Ryder Cup trio having all taken on Carnoustie on day one.

Tom McKibbin and Mark Power carded two-under par rounds of 70, one better than John Murphy, while Padraig Harrington signed for a one-over 73.