Stone eagles last to lead Schwartzel by 1 at Alfred Dunhill

Charl Schwartzel defends his title this week

Defending champion Charl Schwartzel birdied the last hole for a share of the first-round lead in the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The 23-year-old with one European Tour win to his credit finished with a three for a round of 66 and a halfway total of 133 over the par-72, 6,663-meter (7,287-yard) layout.

After a birdie-fest yesterday Paul Dunne came back down to earth, and the leaderboard, with a bump on Friday as a round puncutated by four bogeys saw him slip into a tie for 20th at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

Coetzee, victor of three European Tour events, sizzled on the front nine and turned in 29 after six birdies.

However, the Belfast man fought back with a birdie flurry at the end to record a one-under-par round and lies seven shots behind leader Brandon Stone from South Africa.

The former Masters champion had been one-under at the turn but upped the ante coming home and picked up five birdies in an inward half of 32 to vault up the standings. "You don't want to put yourself out of it, which you can very easily do, so on the front nine I was just really grinding to make pars and when I did find some good shots, I capitalised by making birdies".

There are only three players who have done so previously - Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods - so Schwartzel is already in elite company.

Grace made a roaring start with four birdies in his first six holes, but then his putter went cold and it was a frustrated figure who deposited his approach shots into the water for bogeys on both the 15 and 18 holes.

"I got the back sorted for a few holes there and it held its nerve for the back nine", he said. I gave myself a fair amount of chances and made some nice bonus putts.

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