Wednesday 14 November 2018

Moynihan and Dunne aim to become latest Irishman to reign in Spain

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

Brian Keogh

Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan will be looking to keep Ireland's proud Spanish Open tradition alive in Madrid.

While Jon Rahm is the big home favourite at the Centro Nacional de Golf, the former Walker Cup team-mates want to follow in the footsteps of Eddie Polland, Eamonn Darcy, Pádraig Harrington and Peter Lawrie and become Spanish Open champions.

Dunne (25) arrives in Spain with momentum following back-to-back top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour.

And while Moynihan has missed the cut in the seven events he's played since he won his European Tour card at the Qualifying School, one good week could change that dynamic quickly.

Both players know that they will have their work cut out to stop reigning Irish Open champion Rahm, who wants to add the Spanish Open to his long list of wins as an amateur in Spain.

"I can't explain it," said Rahm, who was fourth behind Patrick Reed in the Masters on Sunday.

"I am blessed to be able to say I am Spanish Golf Federation National Champion for the ages of U-16, 18, 21, and all ages.

"I think it's four or five different categories that I am champion of, and some of them a couple of times.

Stamp

"To be able to link my pro and amateur career to get this final stamp would be amazing."

While Dunne and Moynihan toil in Spain, Graeme McDowell returns to Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head for the 50th edition of RBC Heritage.

The Portrush native won the event in 2013, beating Webb Simpson in a play-off, but faces some tough opposition with world number one Dustin Johnson playing for the first time since he missed the cut in 2008 and 2009.

A Pete Dye course that suits the more accurate players, the likes of Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, Charley Hoffman, Xander Schauffele, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Patrick Cantlay and Matthew Fitzpatrick headline a strong field that also features Luke Donald, who is 65-under at the course since 2010.

In amateur golf, Maynooth University's Ronan Mullarney added a six-under 66 to his opening 76 to share the lead with team-mate Alan Fahy on two-under par entering the final round of the Irish Students Amateur Open at Tralee.

They are just one stroke ahead of Maynooth's Jack McDonnell, Royal Dublin's Hugh Foley, Royal Portrush's Jack Madden and the University of Ulster's James McVicker.

  • Spanish Open, Sky Sports 11.0
  • RBC Heritage, Sky Sports 8.0pm

Irish Independent

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