Dunne achieves Open hat-trick
Published 29/06/2016 | 02:30
Paul Dunne completed an incredible hat-trick at Woburn when he won final qualifying for The Open for the third year in a row to earn his place at Royal Troon.
Just a year after his amateur heroics at St Andrews, where he held the joint lead with a round to go only to shoot 78 and finish tied 30th behind Zach Johnson, the Greystones star (23) claimed one three spots on offer at the Marquess Course.
He followed a flawless four-under-par 68 in the morning with 67 in the afternoon to post a nine-under-par total of 135 and win by one from England's Ryan Evans, with Robert Rock a shot further back after taking the third spot after a play-off with compatriot Aaron Rai.
"I love the course and I always seem to play well at this time of year," said Dunne, who now has a chance to build on his fine performance at last year's Open when he set a new amateur record while sharing the 54-hole lead.
"Hopefully this is the last time I have to qualify because it's been very nerve-wracking. There was a bit of nerves out there. To be honest I tend to struggle in the rain.
"This morning I had a bogey-free 68 and the longest putt I holed was about four foot. I was hitting it so good."
Dunne will join Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke at Royal Troon from July 14-17.
There are still places up for grabs at this week's 100th Open de France and next week's Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
Kevin Phelan (69-70) finished two shots outside the mark at Gailes Links in Glasgow, where Colin Montgomerie's five-under total was enough to take the third spot behind winner Oskar Arvidsson and Spain's Scott Fernandez.
Amateur Jack Hume finished seven shots outside the mark at Hillside, where Jack Senior (69-70) won.
At Royal Cinque Ports in Kent, Matthew Southgate (70-66) topped the qualifiers on six under par, with Rory McNamara six off the mark on three over.