Golfers and celebrity amateurs head to Scotland for the annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

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The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship began in Scotland on Thursday as the 168 of the world’s best golfers and their celebrity amateur partners headed out across three of the country’s leading courses.

The Championship is played across four days at the Championship Course Carnoustie, Kingsbarns Golf Link and the Old Course St Andrews with there being a professional tournament in addition to the slightly more lighthearted team championship that sees a professional partnered with one of the 168 amateurs.

With both competitions beginning on Thursday, it gave fans a glimpse of some of their favourite golfers, with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood competing, as well as giving them a chance to see which of their favoured celebrities can hit a long ball and has a deft touch around the greens.

The team’s score is measured by the lower of the professional or amateur’s net result at each hole.

Competing on the first day were various celebrities including Bill Murray and Kathryn Newton, two stars of Hollywood who are also believed to be adept golfers.

Murray was playing alongside South African professional Brandon Stone with the amateur competing to the team score on an impressive four occasions.

Kathryn Newton embraces partner Matt Wallace after their first round of the Alfred Dunhill Links team event

Kathryn Newton embraces partner Matt Wallace after their first round of the Alfred Dunhill Links team event

Having been filmed waking up bright and early to join the green-keepers St Andrews as they put their final preparations into the course for the first day, Murray would have enjoyed insider knowledge of the pin positions for the first day.

However, competing at Carnoustie, the American actor and comedian still managed to impress alongside his partner, returning to the club house having shot an impressive 66, six-under the course’s par 72.

Having gone into the event as one of the tournament’s fancied pairings, Stone and Murray will have their work cut out on Friday and Saturday in attempting to make the top 20 pairings to advance to Sunday’s final round at St Andrews.

The American actress appeared to enjoy the first round of her weekend - despite getting into a bit of bother on occasion

The American actress appeared to enjoy the first round of her weekend – despite getting into a bit of bother on occasion

Newton shares a joke with Matt Fitzpatrick's mother, Susan, on round one at Carnoustie

Newton shares a joke with Matt Fitzpatrick’s mother, Susan, on round one at Carnoustie

Meanwhile, Newton, competing in the event for the first time having been a prodigal talent in her youth, also gave fans at Carnoustie a glimpse of her talents.

Prior to the event, the actress had said of her excitement in competing: ‘To be able to play St Andrews, the most historic course in the world, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, in a fully-fledged professional event will be a wonderful moment for me and I am really going to enjoy it.’

Newton, playing alongside English professional Matt Wallace, shot an impressive combined 71 with the Big Little Lies actress contributing to the team’s overall score on one occasion.

Matt Fitzpatrick had spoken of the delight at being able to play with his mother in the event

Matt Fitzpatrick had spoken of the delight at being able to play with his mother in the event

Bill Murray, one of America's foremost comedians, shares a joke with a volunteer at Carnoustie

Bill Murray, one of America’s foremost comedians, shares a joke with a volunteer at Carnoustie

Like her countryman’s team, there appears to be a bit of work to be done over their next two rounds to try and make the Sunday.

Other celebrities in the field include current and former sportspeople, actors and musicians.

 

Linkin Park’s Dave Farrell contributed a highly impressive five times to his team’s score as he and partner Russell Chrystie posted a solid 68 in their first round at St Andrews.

Mark Noble, who retired from professional football at the end of last season and was recently announced to be taking over as West Ham’s sporting director from January, was also out at St Andrews.

Murray played adeptly across his first round at Carnoustie aiding his professional partner on occassion

Murray played adeptly across his first round at Carnoustie aiding his professional partner on occassion

Naturally, Noble was partnered alongside football and Hammers fanatic world no.15 Billy Horschel as the pair shot their way to 67 with the former midfielder contributing to his team’s score four times.

Joe Root, partnered with Laird Shepherd, watched his professional play a blinder of a round as they climbed to 22nd in the leaderboard after a highly successful opening 18 at Kingsbarns. The former England captain, notable for being a talented golfer, aided his partner on three occasions.

While some golfers were partnered with celebrities, others took the chance to make it more of a family affair with two of Europe’s leading players choosing to play alongside their mother and father.

Joe Root, the former England Test skipper, opened his competition on the Old Course at St Andrews

Joe Root, the former England Test skipper, opened his competition on the Old Course at St Andrews

Root shared a photo op on the Old Course's Swilcan Bridge alongside former England skippers Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen as well as Piers Morgan

Root shared a photo op on the Old Course’s Swilcan Bridge alongside former England skippers Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen as well as Piers Morgan

Gianfranco Zola was partnered with fellow Italian Francesco Molinari who won the 2018 Open at Carnoustie

Gianfranco Zola was partnered with fellow Italian Francesco Molinari who won the 2018 Open at Carnoustie

Matt Fitzpatrick, who in the summer won the US Open, played alongside his mother, Susan, at Carnoustie, with the pair lying 136th in the leaderboard at the end of the first day.

Not for the first time, McIlroy played with his father, Gerry, at Carnoustie, avoiding the the site of his agonising final round Open defeat to Cameron Smith in July of this year on the opening day of the event.

Fleetwood headed out with American businessman Ogden Phipps II, also at Carnoustie, which was the place to be on Thursday.

Other notable amateur golfers competing included Piers Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Ronan Keating, Gianfranco Zola, Tom Chaplin and Huey Lewis.

Ogden Phipps II and Tommy Fleetwood share a handshake after success on the 14th

Ogden Phipps II and Tommy Fleetwood share a handshake after success on the 14th

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