Tuesday 20 March 2018

Dunne lays strong foundations for title challenge in the desert

Paul Dunne approaches the ninth green on his way to an impressive second round 66. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images
Paul Dunne approaches the ninth green on his way to an impressive second round 66. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

William S Callahan

Paul Dunne is enjoying the view from the top end of the leaderboard in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and hopes to make 'moving day' a launch pad for a title challenge tomorrow.

Dunne stayed cool, calm and collected as he reflected on his second-round 66 which elevated him to 10-under par, just two shots behind overnight leader Martin Kaymer.

His reward was lie-in this morning before teeing off alongside Spain's Pablo Larrazabal and Kireadech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, all of them on the 10-under mark.

This trio get their third round under way shortly before the final grouping of Tommy Fleetwood (-10), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-11), and Kaymer.

Dunne, who battled to retain his card on his rookie campaign last year, will do his best to stay in the present and not allow his thoughts to drift ahead to the possibility of a big cheque or even more by the end of the tournament.

"My game feels in good shape. I'm hitting a lot of good iron shots and giving myself a lot of chances.

"Greens being as good as they are, you are bound to take a few. It's exciting, yeah. Looking forward to a good weekend.

"This is kind of what we were thinking about over Christmas. Nice to get off to a good start but that's all it is.

"We're only halfway there. Hopefully keep doing what we're doing and post some of the same numbers again," he said.


Dunne started on the 10th and turned in 32, four-under par, finishing that front nine with an eagle three on the par-five 18th.

"I had 243 in the fairway bunker, and I hit a three-iron to about six feet, and made a nice eagle. Then I hit a wedge to four feet on the first, (his 10th), and two-putt birdie on the second. It was a nice stretch," he said.

His only error came on the third, his 12th, which he bogeyed but got that one back with his final birdie of the day, a three on the par-four sixth, his 15th hole.

On the PGA Tour, the CareerBuilder Challenge continued its pro-am format on three courses at PGA West in La Quinta, California.

Ireland's Seamus Power played his second round on the Stadium Course.

He followed up his opening 67 on the Nicklaus Course with 70 yesterday for a 137 total (-7) to lie seven shots behind leader Hudson Swafford.

Swafford carded a second successive 65 for a 14-under par total and a one-shot lead over first round leader Dominic Bozelli and Danny Lee.

Power did his best to follow Swafford's mantra that "boring golf is good golf." He played nicely for 17 holes - 14 pars and three birdies - before a bogey five on 18 caused his only dropped shot of the day.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.30am

CareerBuilder Challenge Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.0pm

Irish Independent

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