Thursday 21 November 2019

Dunne on leaders' tail as young guns flourish

Paul Dunne on the eighth tee during the second round of the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Paul Dunne on the eighth tee during the second round of the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

William S Callahan

The Twenty-Something Syndrome that lit up the Majors and the PGA Tour this season has crossed the Atlantic to Scotland.

Jordan Spieth is the prime example of youth having its fling in the big time, and the new kids on the block stayed in the limelight at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship yesterday.

Take a bow, Jimmy Mullen (21) and Paul Dunne (22) who were joint leader and joint third respectively after two rounds of the $5m event in their first tournament as professionals.

Mullen and Dunne both played at St Andrews. Mullen's 69 brought him to 11-under for the tournament, alongside England's Anthony Wall. Dunne's 70 left him in a group on ten-under.

So what do the rookie pros think of this play-for-pay game so far?

"I'm really not thinking about the money," said Dunne. "If I keep playing good golf, I won't have to worry about money. It would be nice to get a pay day at the end of the week.

"If I keep focusing on getting better and progressing, then money should take care of itself over time."

Dunne's round was quite tidy, with two birdies and two bogeys in his first ten holes followed by eight consecutive pars on the homeward stretch.

He had a chance to join the group in the lead but his birdie attempt from nine feet on the last hole slid just inches wide.

He and Mullen play the challenging Carnoustie layout today. At the end of play, the field will be cut to the leading 60 professionals and the top 20 Pro-Am teams who go forward to tomorrow.

The scoring was impressive, with plenty of scores in the 60s.

Bradley Dredge of Wales was the hot-shot of the day as he filed a 63 at Kingsbarns - ten shots better than his first-round 73 at Carnoustie.

Branden Grace shot 64 at Kingsbarns, and Jamie Donaldson slotted in a 65 to make him upwardly mobile.

That level of scoring proved to be a challenge to Graeme McDowell.

The Portrush native also played at Kingsbarns and 69 left him in a solid position at seven-under after 36 holes. He revealed he found it difficult to keep calm as the leaderboards at the three host courses seemed to be splattered with birdies.

"You see the low scoring happening on this golf course yesterday and you get here and I felt like the first nine holes - we started on the back - was kind of tricky," he said.

"It was tough to get the ball close to the flag and I couldn't get it going, and then the frustration starts to set in because in the benign conditions, you're not going to get these golf courses any easier."

Darren Clarke was next best Irishman as his 68 at Kingsbarns moved him to five-under.

Also at Kingsbarns were Shane Lowry (69 for one-under); Pádraig Harrington (69 for level-par), and Paul McGinley (73 for four-over par).

Peter Lawrie (73), Damien McGrane (71), Michael Hoey (73) and Kevin Phelan (72) all played the Old Course. Lawrie finished on four-under, McGrane three-under, Phelan one-under, and Hoey level par.

Gary Hurley carded a 72 at Carnoustie, moving him to one-over par for the event.

Dunhill Links Championship, Live, Sky Sports 4, 1.00pm

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