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Plant sets new course record to take the lead in the first round of the 120th Amateur Championship

England's Alfie Plant stormed to the first round lead in the Amateur Championship today with a course record-breaking seven-under-par 63 at Panmure.

The Amateur Championship 2015 Day 1 Wrap
The Amateur Championship 2015 Day 1 Wrap

The 22-year-old got off to a great start birdieing his first two holes before watching his seven iron approach to the 405 yard, par four 3rd hole find the bottom of the cup. Remarkably, Plant repeated the feat on the 436 yard, par four 10th where his six iron approach also found the hole.

The Sundridge Park and England national squad golfer also birdied the 7th and 9th holes with his only dropped shot coming at the 6th to shave two shots off the previous course of 65 held by several players.

"It was a bit mental at the start. I birdied the first two and holed out on three for eagle, had a couple of birdies after that and then holed out on ten for eagle again," he said. "To see them drop was a good feeling. One went in and it was nice but to see the second one go in was a bit bizarre but I will take it.

"I'm really pleased. It's my first course record and my personal best round as well so it's been a really good day. Obviously you see it a lot out here, people go low in the first round and find it hard to back it up in the second round. Hopefully I can do the same again tomorrow or, if not, just be nice and steady and get into the match play round."

Plant leads by two from Scotland's Grant Forrest and New Zealander Ryan Chisnall, who both posted  five-under-par 67's at Carnoustie.

The 21-year-old Scot made the most of the benign conditions to card seven birdies around the challenging Angus links with his only wobble coming with dropped shots at the eighth and ninth holes.

Grant Forrest - Round 1 Wrap
Grant Forrest - Round 1 Wrap

The Craigielaw golfer, who won the 2014 St Andrews Links Trophy and was part of the winning Great Britain and Ireland St Andrews Trophy team last year, gave himself an excellent platform for tomorrow's second stroke play round at nearby Panmure.

"My putting was the key today. I had three 20 or 25 footers and a couple of 15 footers and I didn't miss anything from six feet. I drove it well too and made the par fives more like par fours. Driving it well on a course like this is a big help," he said.

Chisnall carded six birdies with a solitary dropped shot on the 5th hole. The 20-year-old, who won the South Island Stroke Play Championship in his native country last year, was pleased with his opening round.

He said, "It's one of the better rounds I've had in a while, I've been in the UK for three weeks now and this is the best weather we have had so took advantage of that and didn't have to fight my way around the golf course.  I holed a few putts but anytime you shoot under par on a golf course like this you are happy.  I'm pretty much over the moon so will go home and have a rest and hopefully continue that tomorrow.

"This is the biggest event I have ever played in so making the match play is the goal and then I will take it from there."

One shot further back was Ireland's Jack Hume, who eagled the 12th at Carnoustie on his way to a four-under-par 68. The 22-year-old from Naas, who, along with Forrest, was named in the initial 20-man squad for the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team to face the USA in September, also managed five birdies and three bogeys in an eventful round.

"I'm very happy with one-over through eight holes and five-under-par for the last ten," he said. "I had a strange start, birdie, bogey, birdie but hit some nice iron shots and can hopefully carry that on tomorrow.  It's meant to be windy tomorrow so it was definitely a scoring day today.  I have had a consistent season so far, so I'm hoping for a win or two over the rest of the season."

A clutch of players finished on three-under-par, including Englishmen Ashton Turner, Jimmy Mullen, Leon Fricker and Harry Hall. Playing at Carnoustie, Fricker, from Yelverton, was clearly inspired by his surroundings as he enjoyed a remarkable finish with six consecutive threes, including an eagle at the par five 14th.

"I played really well and felt very comfortable on the course," he said. "I love this course and want to play it as much as I can. I watched The Open in 2007 when I was 13 and it inspired me to play."

Hall also had an eagle on his card, at the par five second at Panmure, and, despite a dropped shot on the last, the 17-year-old from West Cornwall is well placed going into tomorrow's second round.

"I started well and made a nice eagle on the second. I felt like I was in the tournament after looking at the scores before the round. I was steady for the rest of the round and made my first five on the last hole. That was a bit disappointing but I am looking forward to tomorrow."

A field of 288 players, representing 30 different countries, will play two qualifying rounds of stroke play at both Carnoustie and Panmure before the leading 64 and ties take part in the match play stages at Carnoustie. The 36-hole final will be played on Saturday.

The second stroke play round gets underway at 7am tomorrow. For live scoring from the championship please click here.