Thursday 13 December 2018

Eagle-eyed Dunne sets pace as Moynihan is derailed


Paul Dunne. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Paul Dunne. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Paul Dunne eagled the 18th for a super 66 and a share of the lead in the €1.5 million Spanish Open in rainy Madrid.

One-under at the turn, the Greystones star (25) birdied the 11th, 13th and 16th before converting a six-footer for an eagle three at the 18th

"I'm pretty pleased," said Dunne after joining Scotland's Marc Warren on six-under par at the Centro Nacional de Golf.

"I find the greens quite tricky to read out there, especially on the front nine, so it was nice to get a couple of putts go in on the back nine.

"On the first nine holes I was playing pretty nicely but I wasn't giving myself chances close enough.

"Then I hit a couple of shots a little bit closer on the back nine when I got wedges in my hand and it was nice to finish with an eagle."

Dunne and Warren lead by one stroke from an 11-strong chasing pack that includes world No 4 Jon Rahm.

It's a group that might also have featured Mount Juliet's Gavin Moynihan but he made a quadruple-bogey nine at his 14th hole and shot 72. Five-under after 10 holes, the Dubliner (23) lost a ball, thinned a bunker shot and had a penalty drop as he made a nine at the par-five fifth, then bogeyed the next to end the day outside the projected cut mark on level-par.

"It had a bit of everything," said Moynihan, who will join Dunne on Team Ireland in next month's innovative Golf Sixes at Centurion Golf Club in St Alban's from May 5-6.

"I played lovely all day and had what was probably the best up and down of my life for the nine too!"

On the PGA Tour, Graeme McDowell had a frustrating day on the greens in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.

The 2013 champion made just one birdie at Harbour Town Golf Links before finishing with a bogey at the ninth for a 72 that left him eight strokes behind early leader Rory Sabbatini (42) on one-over par.

Without a win since the 2011 Honda Classic, South African Sabbatini made seven birdies in a seven-under 64 to lead by a shot from John Huh and Billy Horschel as world No 1 Dustin Johnson mixed six birdies with four bogeys in a rollercoaster 69.

On the Challenge Tour, Cormac Sharvin opened with a five-over 76 as Michael Hoey racked up two triple-bogeys in an 81 in the Belt & Road Colorful Yunnan Open in China. Spain's Borja Virtu, Canada's Sunil Jung, England's Matt Ford and Charlie Saxon of the US shot five-under-par 66s to lead by a stroke.

In amateur golf, Maynooth's Ronan Mullarney held off final-round challenge from team-mate Jack McDonnell and Royal Dublin's Hugh Foley to win the Irish Students Amateur Open at Tralee.

Winner of last week's R&A Scholars Foundation event, the Galway native closed with a one-under 71 to triumph by a shot from McDonnell (71) on three-under with Foley a shot further back after a 72. Maynooth's Clodagh Walsh shot 72 to win the women's event by 13 shots on two-over 218.

Meanwhile, Pádraig Harrington launched The K Club's €20,000 Irish PGA Pro-Am - sponsored by Cairn PLC, Crystal Air, MCM Engineering Inc, Newbridge Silverware, The Irish Golfer Magazine and TLC Nursing Homes.

The 36-hole event will be played over the Ryder Cup and Smurfit courses at the Straffan resort from May 5-6 with teams of three amateurs costing €1,350 for golf, a barbecue and gala dinner.

Open de Espana Live, Sky Sports Golf, 11.0am

RBC Heritage Live, Sky Sports Golf, 8.0pm

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