Thursday 5 December 2019

Dunne to miss Q-School bid after injury setback

Paul Dunne. Photo: Getty
Paul Dunne. Photo: Getty

Brian Keogh

Paul Dunne's withdrawal with a wrist injury from the Final Stage of the Qualifying School is a massive blow to the Wicklow man.

But Ryder Cup skipper Pádraig Harrington is convinced that a fully-fit Dunne is more than capable of regaining his card in 2020.

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"I won't be playing this week," Dunne said when asked about his preparations for the six-round Q-School marathon which begins in Spain today. "Have an ongoing wrist injury that's gotten worse, and I'm going to take some time to sort it out."

It's unclear how long he's been suffering with the injury and whether it will require surgery. But it goes some way to explaining why he missed 12 of 14 cuts following his tie for fourth in the Made in Denmark in May.

"I'm trying to get to the bottom of it," Dunne (26) said, adding that he would speak openly about his troubles once he's ascertained the cause of his injury.

He can still hope to get some 20 European Tour starts next season and Harrington sees him as a born winner who will triumph in the game.

"Paul Dunne is capable of winning," Harrington said of the Wicklow man's potential. "You are not looking at a player who would see 20th or 30th as a good result. Paul has won a big event and had top finishes in big events."

Dunne's absence means Irish hopes rest on Gavin Moynihan, Michael Hoey, Jonny Caldwell, Robin Dawson and Niall Kearney and all five are playing well enough.

Moynihan (25) is looking to finish in the top 25 and ties for the third year in a row like Hoey (40) and Caldwell (35), who tasted Q-School success in 2008, he'll welcome some wind.

"Everyone says the courses are not tough enough," Hoey said. "Sam Horsfield shot 27-under to win two years ago. If there's not much wind, you have to putt really well."

Breakthrough

Dawson (24) sees it as a test of patience and mental strength while Kearney (31) feels ready step up.

"Obviously it would be great to get the breakthrough, and I am playing okay," said Kearney, who played for five years on the Challenge Tour before heading to the Asian Tour to improve his game. "This is year 10 [as a pro] for me, but I still feel I have something to offer. If I didn't, I would pack it in."

Caldwell, who has been battling for 12 years to establish himself after partnering Rory McIlroy in the 2007 Walker Cup, just loves the challenge.

"I'd much rather be doing this than be stuck behind a desk somewhere or doing retail in the golf industry," he said. "As long as I can see progress, I will continue doing what I am doing."

Meanwhile, Louis Oosthuizen carded a bogey-free, nine-under 63 to lead the $7.5m Nedbank Golf Challenge by three shots from Belgian Thomas Detry and by four from Italian Guido Migliozzi despite suffering from kidney stones.

"Considering that at 3am this morning, I didn't think I was doing going to tee it up, I'm very chuffed with that round," the South African said at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.

Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger shot a one-under 71 to share 25th with Harrington, who made three birdies and two bogeys as Ernie Els (50) posted a bogey-free 68 to lie joint fourth with compatriot Zander Lombard and Lee Westwood on four-under.

On the PGA Tour, rain and thunderstorms prevented any play at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico while in amateur golf, Royal Dublin's Max Kennedy closed with a six-under 64 to win the U-18 title and finish third overall in the Faldo Series Grand Final in the United Arab Emirates.

  • Nedbank Challenge, Live, Sky Sports, 8.0am
  • Mayakoba Classic, Live, Sky Sports, 6.0pm

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