Sunday 11 December 2016

Aces high for Paul Dunne in dream start to pro career

Published 02/10/2015 | 02:30

Paul Dunne of Ireland hits a driver off the seventh tee during the first round of the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Paul Dunne of Ireland hits a driver off the seventh tee during the first round of the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

The bracing Scottish air seems to put wind in the sails of Ireland's Paul Dunne who made a spectacular European Tour debut as a professional in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

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Dunne, 22, from Greystones, Co Wicklow, announced himself to the world by his heroics in the Open Championship at St Andrews in July.

On the final day of the weather-disrupted Open, Dunne teed off in the final group as joint leader with Louis Oosthuizen.

The fairytale pretty much ended there as the magic wore off through the afternoon, but yesterday at Kingsbarns, rookie pro Dunne finished tied for the Dunhill Links lead and with a hole-in-one to savour. He shot an eight-under-par 64 - joining Walker Cup team-mate Jimmy Mullen and Sweden's Kristoffer Broberg at the head of the leaderboard.

Dunne's dream start to his new career was capped by a hole-in-one.

He used a five-iron for his tee-shot at the 205-yard 15th at Kingsbarns. This was Dunne's sixth hole, as he started at the 10th.

Bonus

"It was nice to get a hole-in-one. It was exactly as I pictured it. I tried to start it at the left edge of the green and let the wind drift it and I thought I hit it close and when I saw it drop, it was great. Nice little bonus there," he said.

Dunne did not allow the shock and awe at scoring the ace to affect him. In fact, it gave him momentum and he completed his round with eight birdies and two bogeys plus that ace on the card for his 64.

"I played some good golf from then on in. I'm happy with my score. There are scores out there to be had. You just have to make putts and get dialled in with your distance control and your irons.

" I played a lot better on the front nine than I did on the back nine, which was my front nine, a lot better striking of my irons," said Dunne.

The Irishman and Walker Cup team-mate Jimmy Mullen from England both came through the first Stage of Qualifying School in Austria last week.

After a superb opening day, they may yet dare to dream of earning a big cheque by the end of he tournament.

Irish Independent

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