Dunhill Links Championship
Tour pro had no idea how low he was going at St. Andrews until tying course record
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — It’s been done before, at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship of course. But only once. Five years after Ross Fisher’s breathtaking 11-under-par 61, the former Ryder Cup player is now just the joint record holder for lowest 18-hole score over the Old Course at St. Andrews. Starting from the 10th tee during Thursday’s first round of the DP World Tour event, and one over par after only two holes, Romain Langasque played his next 16 holes in 12 under par, making eight birdies and two eagles. Even more remarkably, the 27-year-old Frenchman made his last par on the third hole. From the fourth tee to the ninth green he was seven under par.
So yes, the weather was close to pristine, only a slight breeze blowing from the north. And yes, the pin positions in this pro-am event are less than severe in order to get the amateurs round in something less than six hours. But come on. Such a score over the most famous 18 holes on the planet is something to be savored. So no wonder Langasque seemed slight stunned by the enormity of what he had achieved.
“I didn't feel that I shot a number today,” he said. “I was having a good round, but just five, six [under], was the way I was thinking of it. But the end of the course was amazing. I holed a few long putts. The game was great, but no, I didn’t feel I shot 11 under. I never think I will have the course record in St. Andrews, and I think now my name is going to be on this board. So yeah, I'm really happy about this. But it's only the first round, so I'm also going to stay really focused for the next few days.”
In truth, while such a low score was always on the cards given the conditions—another Frenchman, Frederic Lacroix, shot 10 under at Kingsbarns and yet another, Antoine Rozner, complied a 63 over the Old Course—not many pundits would have picked Langasque as the man to get the job done. A one-time winner on Old World circuit at the 2020 ISPS Handa Wales Open, the former British Amateur champion arrived in Scotland on the back of a missed cut in his own national Open, his third third weekend off in his last five starts.
Still, dotted within Langasque’s record on tour this year are as many as five top-10s, the most recent at the BMW International in June. And bursts of low scoring have long been part of his golfing DNA. Playing in the 2016 Masters as a result of his British Amateur victory the year before, the Langasque nipped round the back nine at Augusta National in 31 shots, tieing the record for an amateur in the Masters. Clearly, when he gets it going, he sometimes finds it hard to stop.
Which is how it went over the Old Course.
“I was playing good on the front nine but just didn't make any long putts or whatever,” Langasque said. “I know that the front nine was easier for me, so with the right-to-left wind. So I was just trying to make some opportunity to myself, and this is what happened. I holed a few long putts that makes the round better. I'm so happy, the last three holes were really fun and I made long putts. It's amazing. I didn't realise that I have the course record here now and I think it's something I will remember for rest of my life.”
Next up for Langasque in the three-course rotation that forms this AT&T National Pro-am format, is Carnoustie on Friday, a place where the Grasse native also has good memories. It was over the fearsome Angus links that he won his Amateur Championship seven years ago. That is not to say that another really low score is on the cards. With a near horrendous weather forecast looming, tournament organizers have ordered an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start.