Wednesday 28 September 2016

Classy Jordan Spieth had a word with Paul Dunne twice after disappointing final round

Published 21/07/2015 | 10:07

Paul Dunne was praised by double Major champion Jordan Spieth
Paul Dunne was praised by double Major champion Jordan Spieth

World number two Jordan Spieth just missed out on a third major in a row but despite the disappointment, he sought out Irish amateur Paul Dunne after the Open Championship at St Andrews.

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Spieth needed a birdie on the 18th hole to get into a play-off but saw his approach spin back off the green into the Valley of Sin and narrowly missed the birdie attempt.

After his victories at Augusta and Chambers Bay, Spieth came agonisingly close to landing a third major in a row and the third leg of what could have been a calendar grand slam.

Eventual winner Zach Johnson revealed that Spieth was one of the first people to congratulate him on his victory and Paul Dunne's dad Colm revealed that Spieth had spoken to the Greystones golfer twice after his disappointing 78.

Dunne began the day as joint leader on 12 under, after a brilliant 66 in the third round, seeking to become the first amateur since Bobby Jones in 1930 to win the Open.

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However, he never really gave himself a chance after duffing his approach to the first short of the burn and then sliced his tee shot at the next onto the tournament's practice chipping green.

He recovered those two dropped shots by the fifth but by then his rivals were pulling away and a back nine of 40 saw him finish on six under, nine shots off making the play-off alongside playing partner Louis Oosthuizen, Zach Johnson and Marc Leishman.

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Speaking to Brendan O'Connor on RTE Radio One this morning, Colm Dunne said: "He (Spieth) had a word with him twice when he came in and that was a very, very nice thing to do. The amount of goodwill from the other golfers was absolutely incredible.

"A special thank you to a few guys in particular. Louis Oosthuizen, what an absolute gentleman he was. I think it would be fair to say that we were all rooting for him in the playoff. He was incredible to him for those two rounds. Todd Hamilton and John Hahn in the first two rounds.

"In fairness to Jordan Spieth, and we all know how big a player and ambassador he is for the game, he sought him out. Rickie Fowler went up to him afterwards... there was a huge amount of goodwill.

"When you're playing sport at a high level, to get the respect of your peers is a huge thing. That's a huge thing for him.

"Those guys have been fantastic and that is a takeaway for him."

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Colm revealed that Paul's focus has immediately turned to the Walker Cup and trying to gain selection for the prestigious event.

"He's very, very tired. He's heading down to Royal Lytham and St Anne's for squad practice for the Walker Cup panel," he added.

"When guys have a last round when things don't quite go to plan it takes them a little while to get over that. He has good support here, he has friends who have been here all week and his brother and sister and his mum here. That helps.

"It would be very difficult for some of the pressure not to get to you. To be the last person that Ivor Robson ever calls out at a British Open.

"The first two holes he looked very nervous, he recovered then. Golf is a funny game. Sometimes you have a good day, sometimes you have a bad day. He stuck in there and deserves credit for that."

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