Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen is on course for back-to-back wins in South Africa
Last Updated: 29/11/13 6:20am
Morten Orum Madsen: Good start in his bid for back-to-back victories
Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen is on course for back-to-back wins in South Africa after taking the lead in the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Four days after winning his maiden European Tour title in the South African Open, the 25-year-old from Silkeborg carded a seven-under-par 65 at Leopard Creek to finish one ahead of local favourite Allan Versfeld and Portugal's Ricardo Santos.
Madsen carded eight birdies and one bogey as he continued his remarkable start to only his second full season on Tour, having finished 81st in last season's Race to Dubai.
Versfeld returned a flawless 66 thanks to an eagle and four birdies, while Santos did likewise and finished in style with his eagle coming on the signature par-five 18th.
Defending champion Charl Schwartzel was two shots further back on four-under alongside England's Richard Finch, Scotland's David Drysdale and France's Victor Riu.
"Today it seemed easy but it definitely wasn't, it was pretty tough out there and the course was playing long with the wind," Madsen said after his round.
"I played really solidly, I gave myself a lot of looks at birdie and a lot of shorter ones which was nice.
"I have a lot of confidence right now, I really believe I am going to hit good shots on pretty much every shot. I don't pull off all of them - I hit my tee shot on the seventh in the water - but the majority of them came off well and I rolled in some nice putts.
"I'm really, really happy with how I played, I heard it's tough to come out the week after you have won and play well but I felt pretty relaxed in the days leading up to the tournament and I just wanted to go out and see if I can put some solid shots together and I managed to do that today and put myself in a good position. Hopefully I can keep it up.
First round leaderboard
(SA unless stated)
-7 M Madsen (Den)
-6 A Versfeld
-6 R Santos (Por)
-4 D Drysdale (Sco)
-4 R Finch (Eng)
-4 V Riu (Fra)
-4 C Schwartzel
Click here for collated scores
"I wasn't expecting to shoot 65 today, I knew I was playing well but I won last week so everything that happens this week or next week is going to be icing on the cake. I am just trying to enjoy the ride."
Schwartzel was five-under for his first six holes and annoyed at not capitalising on such a blistering start, declining to speak to reporters afterwards.
The former Masters champion won his first European Tour title at Leopard Creek in 2005 and triumphed by 12 shots last year, just a week after winning the Thailand Open by 11 strokes.
The 29-year-old has also finished second four times in what he unsurprisingly describes as his favourite event - an event in which he was a cumulative 81 under par before Thursday.
That total soon improved as Schwartzel started from the 10th with five birdies in his opening six holes, before a bogey on the 17th saw him reach the turn in 33.
A double-bogey on the first then dropped him back to just two-under par and revived painful memories of last week's South African Open, where he held a three-shot lead early in the final round, but ran up a triple-bogey six on the sixth and also took a double-bogey on the 10th.
The world number 21 did make three birdies in the last eight holes at Glendower to finish joint fourth and also responded quickly here, holing from 12 feet for a birdie on the second and from around 50 feet for another on the par-three seventh.