Monday 9 December 2019

Disappointing week but Dunne enjoys 'bond' built in Europe's comeback win

Paul Dunne celebrates with the trophy after Europe’s victory. Photo: Getty Images
Paul Dunne celebrates with the trophy after Europe’s victory. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Keogh

He might not have won a point, but Paul Dunne passed the ultimate test for a team player during Europe's post-victory press conference at the EurAsia Cup - he didn't sulk.

"It's been a great experience for me," the Greystones man said after Thomas Bjorn's team came back from 6.5-5.5 down by securing eight victories and one half from the 12 singles to win 14-10 and retain the trophy in Kuala Lumpur.

"It's my first team competition as a professional. We had loads of fun in the team room. Everyone bonded quite well, and all of these guys played great today. We managed to get loads of blue on the board early and that gave us a lift.

"It was obviously a disappointing week personally. I didn't play as well as I would have hoped, but I'd rather get no points and a team win than all matches and the team lose, so it's been a good week."

Dunne, who is currently among the eight automatic qualifiers for Bjorn's Ryder Cup team for the clash in Le Golf National, France, lost twice in fourballs and foursomes with Alex Noren to Hideto Tanihara and 18-year-old Thai sensation Phachara Khongwatmai.

It was all set up for him to be a hero as he took on China's Haotong Li in the anchor singles. But while he lost 3&1, with the overall result already decided, he echoed the sentiments of Pádraig Harrington when underlining the importance of putting personal disappointment aside in a team environment.

"A person can influence his team-mates so much in the back room that it affects the result," Harrington said before his last Ryder Cup in Wales in 2010.

"Individual scores can be nice, but I know I won my singles match in 1999 and was on the greatest high ever, for about two minutes. And then I was as disappointed as I'd ever been."

Belgium's Thomas Pieters claimed the winning point by beating Korea's Byeong Hun An by one hole as Europe won seven of the first eight singles to complete a successful defence at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.

"It was a great performance today from every single one of them. They came off the golf course yesterday, and there was a determination and a will of wanting to win this," said Bjorn, who will try to win back the Ryder Cup when he captains Europe in Paris in September.

As for the Ryder Cup and the prospect of facing a gung-ho American team, Bjorn added: "There's no hiding behind [the fact] that the American team is going to be strong and they will feel confident about what they are going to do after their last couple of team events.

"But I see no reason why we can't go into the Ryder Cup with our heads held high and believe that we can get a result on a golf course that we know very well and in a place that's going to be our backyard."

Meanwhile, on the European Tour England's Chris Paisley (31) claimed an impressive three-stroke victory and his maiden title at the BMW South Africa Open Championship hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.

One ahead overnight, he was one behind when playing partner Branden Grace started birdie-eagle. However, he carded an immaculate, six-under-par 66 to the South African's 68 to finish on 21-under at Glendower Golf Club, with his wife Keri on his bag for the first time.

"I'm just so happy with how the week went and to get the win, for not only myself and Keri, but for everyone that's stood behind me," Paisley said.

"It's unbelievable."

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