Malelane, South Africa (SportsNetwork.com) - Morten Orum Madsen fired a 7- under 65 on Thursday to claim a 1-stroke lead at the end of the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Madsen is coming off his first career win on the European Tour at last week's South African Open Championship.
"I'm really, really happy with how I played," stated Madsen. "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."
Allan Versfeld and Ricardo Santos carded matching 6-under 66s to share second place, while defending champion Charl Schwartzel shot 4-under 68 at Leopard Creek Country Club to sit in a tie for fourth with three others.
Schwartzel is joined by Victor Riu, Richard Finch and David Drysdale.
Schwartzel and Riu held the clubhouse lead after the morning wave and were able to maintain that position throughout the majority of the afternoon session until Madsen and Versfeld made their way to the top of the leaderboard.
Madsen first reached red numbers with a birdie at the fourth, and followed that with another gain at the sixth.
He fell back to 1-under with a bogey at the seventh, but bounced right back with three straight birdies from the eighth to move to 4-under.
Madsen later closed his round with three birdies over his last four holes to grab the outright lead at 7-under.
"Today it seemed easy but it definitely wasn't, it was pretty tough out there and the course was playing long with the wind," said Madsen. "I played really solidly, I gave myself a lot of looks at birdie and a lot of shorter ones, which was nice."
Versfeld started on the back nine and recorded an eagle at the 13th amid eight pars to make the turn at 2-under.
He completed his bogey-free round with four birdies over an inward 31 to claim second place.
Santos also recorded four birdies and an eagle during a bogey-free round to earn his share of second place.
Schwartzel had earlier opened his round with back-to-back birdies at the 10th and 11th. After parring the 12th, he stayed hot with three straight gains from the 13th to race to 5-under.
A bogey at the 17th halted his momentum, and he stumbled again around the turn with a double-bogey 6 at the first.
The 2011 Masters winner would not drop another shot for the remainder of the day, however, and closed his day with a pair of birdies at Nos. 2 and 7 around six pars to grab the clubhouse lead at 4-under.
Riu, meanwhile, grabbed the outright lead with six birdies and a bogey over his first 15 holes, but then found water at the par-3 16th en route to a double bogey to drop a shot off the pace.
Riu birdied the 18th to finish alongside Schwartzel at minus-4.
"The course was playing very long, because the ball wasn't running while it was cool this morning, but I was very happy with my driving," said Riu. "I was consistent and I was very straight."
NOTES: This event is co-sanctioned by the South African Sunshine Tour ... Schwartzel also won this tournament in 2005 and has finished second here four times ... Pablo Martin is the only other player to have won this event twice, claiming the title in 2009 and 2010 ... Martin carded a 2-under 70 on Thursday and sits among a large group of players tied for 15th place.