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

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport