UNTIL the golf writers put the finishing touches to our quantum teleportation machine – we just need to add a couple of piston rings and some gaffer tape and we’re off and running – the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship will always remain something of a guddle to cover.

You can’t be in two places at once let alone three, after all. So, you trot off to St Andrews to see what’s doing at the Old Course but then something happens along at Kingsbarns and you ponder nipping there until news filters through of dazzling developments at Carnoustie.

But, by that time, you’re halfway between St Andrews and Kingsbarns with absolutely no chance of getting to Carnoustie and you end up careering about in a dreadful fankle like a whirling dervish at a ceilidh.

In this here, there and everywhere run around, Paul Dunne was simply happy to be back to where it all began. Still riding the crest of the wave whipped up by his maiden victory on the European Tour in last weekend’s British Masters, Dunne found himself sitting pretty again here in the Auld Grey Toun after a five-under 67 on the Old Course left the Irishman in a share of the lead with Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts.

Two years ago on these grand old links, Dunne thrust himself into the global limelight as an amateur and was sharing the lead at the Open Championship with one round to play. The fairy tale turned into a bit of a grim tale as he stumbled to a closing 78, finished down in a tie for 30th and even missed out on the silver medal as the leading player from the unpaid ranks.

Dunne may have left St Andrews empty handed that year but the experience armed him with a belief that he could, perhaps, make a living out of this fickle old game. A few months later, he made his professional debut in the Dunhill Links Championship and, here in 2017, he has returned as a tour champion. The home of golf remains, well, a home from home for Dunne.

“This is where everything started for me,” said the 24-year-old. “That Open Championship opened loads of doors and I knew I could have a professional career. While it was one that still leaves a scar when I think back on that last day of the Open, it’s also something that gave me so much confidence. I definitely wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that.”

It was bright and decidedly breezy in the Kingdom of Fife but Dunne harnessed the conditions to good effect. The outward half may have been playing into the face of a robust wind but it was on this stretch where Dunne made profitable gains with some precise iron play. “I’d never played the Old Course in this wind before,” added Dunne, who made birdies at the third and sixth before trundling in a raking putt of some 30-feet on the ninth for an eagle-two.

His only dropped shot – in fact, his first bogey in his last 40 holes – arrived on the Road Hole 17th but, all in all, it was a good day at the office.

“Golf is never easy but, at the moment, everything feels good and I don’t want that feeling to go,” said the former Walker Cup player who is adapting to his new found celebrity status. “The support from home has been incredible. My phone has been going mental.

“Finding myself on the front page of the newspapers back home is obviously a good thing but I don’t read too much into it. The people who care about me are still the same people who still think the same of me whether I win or lose.”

Colsaerts, meanwhile, must have thought he was on a hiding to nothing at Kingsbarns when he racked up a double bogey seven on the third.

Given the potential for a wreck of a card, the subsequent salvage operation performed by Colsaerts would have earned him plaudits from the Maritime Heritage Society.

The former Ryder Cup player birdied four of his next five holes and then picked up three more strokes on the back nine during a spirited recovery.

Dunne and Colsaerts finished a shot clear of a chasing pack which includes the defending champion, Tyrell Hatton.

Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, wasn’t firing on all cylinders and had to settle for a one-over 73 on the Old Course. His dad, Gerry, had a better time of it. “It was my dad’s birthday today and he enjoyed outplaying me on the front nine,” said McIlroy of his old man’s two-under outward half. “I have to admit this hasn’t been my best day, though.”