Sport Golf

Monday 19 February 2018

Dunne aiming to continue good form with trip into the unknown

Paul Dunne. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images
Paul Dunne. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

William S Callahan

Fresh from his tied-sixth finish and cheque for €35,772 last weekend, Paul Dunne should be full of confidence heading into today's Indian Open - however, like the rest of the field, he is somewhat facing into the unknown.

Dunne is among the early starters in a group alongside South African George Coetzee and Australian Wade Ormsby but a change of venue for the tournament means even the locals don't know what to expect.

The tournament will be played on the Gary Player Course at DLF Golf and Country Club for the first time after moving across the city from its traditional home at Delhi Golf Club, and home favourite and former champion Anirban Lahiri believes it will be important for players to keep their patience on an unknown course.

"I think it's a blank sheet for everyone," said Lahiri, who won the title in 2015. "Nobody really knows what to expect.

At least as far as the whole field is concerned, no one is going out there saying 'I've got to shoot a number', you are going to try to gauge it as you go along.


"The dynamics of it is very different from Delhi Golf Club. You do need length, to be able to control the ball in the wind. It's going to need a lot more versatility. It's a ball-striker's golf course."

The course features large rock formations, undulating greens and cavernous bunkers, with the Women's Open won with level par in 2015 and three under in 2016.

As well as Dunne, Michael Hoey is also in action in India while, on the PGA Tour, Seamus Power and Graeme McDowell are the Irish in action at the Valspar Championship.

Open champion Henrik Stenson was one of several players to be taken ill in Mexico City last week and withdrew from the £7.9m event after 12 holes of his opening round at Chapultepec Golf Club.

But the 41-year-old Swede is looking forward to returning to action at the Innisbrook Resort in Florida, where he was fourth in 2015 and 11th last year.

"It's good to be back," said the world No 6, who has finished runner-up three times and recorded three other top-nine finishes in his last six completed events. "It's the beginning of a stretch of tournaments leading into Augusta, so we want to try to get to the Masters in the right direction."

Stenson will play alongside defending champion Charl Schwartzel and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, with Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed drawn alongside 2018 US captain Jim Furyk and Ernie Els.

Hero Indian Open, Live, Sky Sports 4, 5.30/9.0am,

Valspar Championship Live, Sky Sports 4, 7.0pm

Irish Independent

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