Rory McIlroy powers drive onto 18th green at St. Andrews

Alfred Dunhill Links Power Rankings

Rory McIlroy hoping to avoid first season without a win since 2008 this week

Irishman, Dunne, who sealed his first European Tour title in last week's British Masters continued his fine form on the Old Course at St Andrews as he fired a five-under-par first round total. If he'd carded his five-under-par 67 on the Old Course back in 2015, Dunne would have won the Open Championship as an amateur. The truth is, I wasn't ready and felt overwhelmed'.

WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO was among the big celebrity names who were put through the ringer by the tough links conditions on day one in Scotland. The eagle opportunity wasn't converted, though, leaving the four-time major victor having to settle for a 71.

Only a fearless man would take on Dunne for money right now.

Defending champion Tyrrell Hatton reunited with actor Jamie Dornan after the pair teamed up previous year when the Englishman won his first European Tour title.

McIlroy wrestled through three bogeys and a double in his first 13 holes in what will be his last tournament of 2017.

"My iron play was very solid and while it was a disappointing finish, in general all things feel good and life is pretty good at the minute".

"Playing three courses, a huge part of that depends on what kind of draw you get", he told his own press conference.

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Dunne's attempt to become the first amateur major victor since Johnny Goodman in 1933 didn't pan out. In the end, he tied for 30th, even missing out on the Silver Medal as it went to American Jordan Niebrugge. G-Mac completed a full set of pars on his opening nine and missed an obvious chance to change the script at the short par-4 10th.

"After that Open, I knew I was going to have a professional career and it opened loads of doors for me".

Also in action are ex-footballers Jamie Rednapp who teamed up with pro partner Luke Donald, and Luis Figo who teed up alongside his compatriot Ricardo Gouveia.

The Northern Irishman returned to form last week at the British Masters as he carded closing rounds of 64 and 63 to finish second behind first-time victor Paul Dunne.

"It was tricky enough out there".

This is McIlroy's last event of the year before taking a three-month break and he is still feeling quietly confident he can still get in the mix. "I feel like I can do the same again".

Colsaerts, playing Kingsbarns, recovered from a double-bogey at the fourth to birdie four of his next five holes before picking up a shot at the 12th and closing his round with back-to-back gains.

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