A STRING of birdies towards the end of the day put Eddie Pepperell in a strong position at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The Abingdon golfer carded a one-under 71 in his opening round at Leopard Creek, South Africa.

It was his first tournament since the Scottish Championship last month, where he tied for 16th.

Playing alongside Joachim Hansen and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, the 29-year-old started badly with a bogey at the first.

The Frilford Heath member got back on track with six pars and a birdie at the sixth, before he dropped a shot just before the turn.

It looked like Pepperell was in for a disappointing opening day after another bogey at the 11th, but from that moment on it was a near-perfect back nine.

Two pars were followed by another couple of birdies at the 14th and 15th, although another dropped shot at the next hole saw him fall back again.

But Pepperell made sure he finished the day under-par with a pair of birdies at the final two holes to leave him tied for 35th.

He tees off for his second round at 9.10am GMT, starting from the tenth hole.