Brian O’Driscoll faces nervy opening shot at St Andrews

Former Ireland star in first group out on Old Course at Alfred Dunhill Championships

Former Ireland rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll chips  onto the first green on the Old Course at St Andrews during the final practive round for the  Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Photograpgh: David Cannon/Getty Images

Former Ireland rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll chips onto the first green on the Old Course at St Andrews during the final practive round for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Photograpgh: David Cannon/Getty Images

 

Brian O’Driscoll will face a new type of pressure first thing on Thursday morning after being drawn in the opening fourball at St Andrews for the Dunhill Links Trophy.

The former Leinster and Ireland captain will play in the annual pro-am event played over three of Scotland’s most famous courses, with rounds also taking place at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

And while his former Leinster team-mates are plotting to take down Munster at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening, O’Driscoll will be trying to display his traditional coolness under pressure on one of the most intimidating tee shots in golf.

Although only 376 yards long, the green at the par-four is guarded by the Swilcan Burn, ready to gobble up stray approach shots.

O’Driscoll, a single handicap golfer, will play alongside England’s Oliver Fisher, a good friend of Rory McIlroy’s from their amateur days of Britain and Ireland teams.

They will be joined by former Irish Open runner-up Robert Rock of England and CNBC broadcaster Joe Kernen, who presents the Squawk Box programme. The fourball tee off at 9.0am on Thursday morning.

World No 1 Rory McIlroy plays his first round at Carnoustie alongside his father Gerry, while victorious European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley is partnered by American actor Kyle MacLachlan.

Pádraig Harrington is joined by his usual playing partner JP McManus and will also start at Carnoustie, scene of his first British Open win. The Limerick businessman’s wife Noreen will play alongside Damien McGrane, while his son Kieran joins Peter Lawrie.

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