McBride fired up by Dunne's amateur dramatics
Paul McBride was inspired by Paul Dunne's "unbelievable" Open Championship performance as he headed the qualifiers for the South of Ireland Amateur Open at Lahinch.
The 19-year-old inter-provincial from The Island added a four-under-par 68 to his opening 72 to edge out Laytown and Bettystown's Cian Geraghty (70-70) for the medal on four-under 140 and strengthened his case for a full Irish call-up for next month's defence of the Home Internationals at Royal Portrush.
But the fair-haired Dubliner - recently returned from a year at Wake Forest University - erased bogeys at the fifth and seventh with birdies second, ninth 13th and 18th and an eagle three from 20 feet at the fourth.
And he confessed that it was his love of the course and Dunne's performance at St Andrews that got him in the mood on his first visit to the Co Clare links.
"I love the course," said McBride. "It is probably the best conditioned we have played this year. The greens are really good and really fast and my putting is really good, probably because I am used to the fast greens being in the States. I'm very happy."
McBride said he was inspired by watching Dunne play in the final group on the final day of The Open.
"It was great for Dunners," he said on a day when Lahinch played far easier with tees moved up some 198 yards and pins cut in more accessible positions.
"It's unbelievable. It makes us realise that the gap between the pros and the top amateurs is not that wide."
Geraghty carded a second successive 70, even if it did require a holed bunker shot for eagle at the last to pull it off.
McBride and Geraghty finished two strokes ahead of Royal Dublin's Jeff Hopkins (70), Knock's Colin Fairweather (68) and Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell (68), last year's East of Ireland champion.
The cut for the top 64 fell at nine-over-par 153, which meant an early exit for former winners John Greene and Stephen Walsh.