Thursday 22 February 2018

Dunne finds form in Prague

Paul Dunne of Ireland in action
Paul Dunne of Ireland in action

William S Callahan

Paul Dunne finally ended his miserable run of form after a final-round three-under 69 secured him a tied 16th-place finish at the Czech Masters yesterday.

The Greystones native hadn't made a cut since June but consistent rounds of 72, 71, 70 and 69 saw him finish on six-under for the tournament, nine shots behind maiden European Tour winner Paul Peterson of the United States.

Dunne registered six birdies and three bogeys in his final round. He started in style, picking up shots on the first two holes. But a bogey on the eighth and a birdie on the ninth saw him make the turn at two-under 34.

A further dropped shot at the 10th was followed by birdies on the 12th and 13th as Dunne looked to make a late surge up the leaderboard.

He lost momentum at the 15th when he carded a bogey five but he steadied himself to regain that shot with a birdie two on the next hole before finishing with two pars to sign for his three-under 69.

Dunne pockets €13,500 for his efforts at Albatross Golf Resort in Prague and will head into next week's Made in Denmark event with confidence.

"Solid week but wasn't far from being a great week," Dunne wrote on Twitter after his final round. "Excited for the next few weeks. Game feels close!"

Shane Lowry, Peter Lawrie, Gary Hurley, Darren Clarke and Michael Hoey will also be teeing it up in Farso on Thursday with a purse of €1.8m on offer.

Meanwhile, Europe's team to defend the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in September will contain at least five rookies after the nine automatic qualifiers were decided with a week to spare.

Thomas Pieters needed to defend his Czech Masters title and Lowry required a top-four finish in the Wyndham Championship to keep their hopes alive heading into the final qualifying event in Denmark.

However, Pieters lost out by a single shot to Peterson yesterday and Lowry was certain to finish down the field in North Carolina after a closing 67.

And that means Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Chris Wood, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan and Matt Fitzpatrick are guaranteed to be on the plane to Minnesota in search of an unprecedented fourth straight win in the biennial event.

Willett, Wood, Cabrera-Bello, Sullivan and Fitzpatrick are the rookies, while European captain Darren Clarke will name his three wild cards on August 30. Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer are the favourites to be selected with Russell Knox and Pieters understood to be the leading contenders for the final place.

Irish Independent

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