Dunne heads Irish challenge in second stage of Q-School exam
Paul Dunne has already earned €91,023 on the European Tour since turning pro last September, making him the most successful of the 12 Irish players competing in Stage 2 of the Q-School series which starts in Spain today.
Impressive as that is, the Greystones golfer knows that if he can successfully negotiate his way through another ten rounds of golf - four this weekend and six in the Final Qualifying event - he will have the comfort of a licence to play for many millions of euro on Tour next year.
That's the dream which sustains Dunne and 289 other competitors who play at four venues - El Saler in Valencia, Los Colinas (Alicante), Panoramica in Castellon, and Lumine Golf at Tarragona - from today through Monday.
Dunne, Gavin Moynihan, Gary Hurley and Jack Hume all played in the winning Walker Cup team at Royal Lytham & St Annes in September.
They are joined by Michael McGeady, Chris Selfridge, Brian Casey, Colm Campbell Junior, Alan Dunbar, Jonathan Caldwell, Rory McNamara and Richard Kilpatrick as the Irish representatives in Stage 2.
Hume has retained his amateur status for now, but all the others have committed themselves to the professional ranks.
In recent weeks, he and Moynihan have tuned up their game by competing in the weekly Winter Series events held every Tuesday at Portmarnock Links.
They both featured among the prize winners on successive weeks, with Hume shooting a seven-under-par 64 on October 13 and Moynihan scoring 69.
A week later, Moynihan won the Best Gross with 68, and Hume was third in that category on 70.
The Walker Cup team-mates will hope to continue that rich vein of form over the next few days in an intensely competitive environment.
Michael McGeady, 37, who turned pro in 2005, knows all about the forthcoming challenge.
Last year the Donegal native was the only Irish player of eight competitors to emerge from Stage 2 of Q-School and make it to the finals. Unfortunately, he did not win his card, but McGeady is back and ready to contend once again.
Irish players and venues
Lumine Golf - Dunne, Hurley, Dunbar;
El Saler - Moynihan, McGeady, Selfridge; Los Colinas - McNamara, Kilpatrick; Panoramica - Caldwell, Casey, Hume, Campbell.