It may be mop-up time here in the U.S. but there are still some moments of greater golfing interest around the world, including this week's Dunhill Links Championship, an 11-year-old event contested at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and, most notably, St Andrews. And while first-day fireworks seldom prove central to the plot come Sunday, we cannot let pass Branden Grace's remarkable opening-round 60, which was recorded Thursday morning at Kingsbarns. The 24-year-old Grace has enjoyed a breakout season worldwide, winning back-to-back E Tour-co-sanctioned events in his native South Africa in January, adding the Volvo China Open in April and, most recently, claiming the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final on the Sunshine circuit last week. Apparently the long trip from South Africa did him no harm, for after "quietly" negotiating Kingsbarns' back nine in 31 (led by an eagle at the par-5 16th), he proceeded to birdie seven of nine holes on the front, coming home in a stunning 29. Indeed, an eagle at the 558-yard 9th would have made him the first man ever to break 60 on the E Tour - but a closing birdie instead left him as the 14th to shoot 60.
Beyond the obvious, what's so impressive about this feat? That while numerous players went low at St Andrews (include 22-year-old Frenchman Victor Debuisson, who flirted with a 59 of his own before "fading" to a 62), Grace managed to beat the field by a stunning five shots at Kingsbarns - and how often do we see that?
For the record, only three players among Thursday's top 57 played at Carnoustie, so the true measure of play won't be apparent until the three-day rotation has come full circle on Saturday night. But given the margin by which he lapped his fellow Kingsbarns competitors, Grace's round represents an impressive achievement in any light.
Had he done it on the Old Course, it would have been worldwide news.