Greystones 'bursting with pride' as Paul Dunne completes memorable Open weekend
Roars from Paul Dunne’s local clubhouse could be heard in Greystones Golf Club carpark long before he had embarked on his final round today.
A difficult final day resulted in a five over par round that saw the Wicklowman finish nine shots adrift of the winner.
At the start of play members packed out their clubhouse with the nearby fairways and greens left empty.
“Sssshhhhh, he’ll hear us,” half joked one member before Dunne was afforded a respectful silence as he launched the final leg of his quest to become the first amateur to win the British Open since 1930.
“This will be hard to watch,” said one woman perched right in front of the television. “There won’t be a child in the house washed,” she added.
Dunne placed his ball and studied it meticulously, insuring that he set himself up right before getting under way.
Time appeared to stand still before the 22-year-old swung his driver and a number watching in the bar had mistaken his composed nature for stage fright.
However, Greystones Lady Captain Jeanne Thorpe was always certain that Paul would acquit himself well.
“The amount of work he puts into his game is fantastic and everyone around here would know him for that,” she said.
“He is very talented. He has a lot of natural flare and he is a good sportsman so he deserves every bit of this,” she added.
More than 100 people had gathered in the clubhouse lounge after taking time off work or going on an extended ‘liquid lunch’ in order to support their local lad.
Before play got underway in Scotland, those watching at home spoke of the memories each had of Paul, all similarly involving him honing and fine tuning his game outside.
A shaky start brought many gasps to an already nervous crowd but as the round progressed Dunne seemed to become more comfortable in his surroundings.
Yet each shot was still preceded with a hush and eerie silence before gutsy roars filled the air every time his ball landed where desired.
Cheers were offered too for Dunne’s hero Padraig Harrington as he took an early share of the lead.
“If it is not going to be me, then I hope it is him,” Harrington had said of Dunne over the weekend.
However, there was no doubt that despite the respect offered to Harrington, allegiances were firmly with the local lad.
Some members had gathered in the car park at 4am yesterday morning before travelling to St Andrews to catch the final round.
“They just could not miss it,” said the Club Captain Michael Joyce’s wife Celine.
“Michael went over on Thursday with some other members but when Paul did so well he went back over with the club pro and the vice-captain on Sunday,” she added.
Despite Paul’s slip down the leader board as play progressed there was still acknowledgment and praise offered for each shot taken and pride continued to rain inside the sunlit clubhouse.
As he marched up the 18th fairway, flutes of champagne were passed around as the members basked in the joy their boy from Greystones had brought them over the course of the championship.
“From a young age he has been so clever, grounded and sure of himself so none of us are at all surprised,” said Celine.
“They are having a ball and we are just bursting with pride that Paul is where he is today.”