Tuesday 16 January 2018

Paul Dunne on Open heroics - I had to turn off Twitter notifications to get a good night's sleep

Irish amateur Paul Dunne will turn professional later this year.
Irish amateur Paul Dunne will turn professional later this year.
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Irish amateur golfer Paul Dunne has admitted the attention he received during his memorable weekend at St Andrews caught him by surprise.

The 22-year-old began the final day as joint leader on 12 under, after a brilliant 66 in the third round, seeking to become the first amateur since Bobby Jones in 1930 to win the Open.

However, he never really gave himself a chance after duffing his approach to the first short of the burn and then sliced his tee shot at the next onto the tournament's practice chipping green.

He recovered those two dropped shots by the fifth but by then his rivals were pulling away and a back nine of 40 saw him finish on six under, nine shots off making the play-off alongside playing partner Louis Oosthuizen, Zach Johnson and Marc Leishman.

"It was mixed emotions really," he told 2FM's Game On programme last night. "I wasn't expecting to be going out in the final few groups on the Sunday and the final group on the last day."

"I was disappointed with the result the last day, but overall pretty satisfied with the week and the exposure I got myself.

Read more: 'Rattled' Paul Dunne never got his shot at Open history off the ground

That exposure was most noticeable on social media with the likes of Joey Barton and Gary Lineker offering their support to the Wicklow man on Twitter. Dunne admitted the increased exposure had consequences each night in Scotland.

"I went from 1,100 [followers on Twitter] to 23,000, so I went up a little bit," he conceded. "I just had to turn the notifications off my phone or otherwise I wouldn't be going to sleep at night.

"The attention I got as the week went on I wasn't expecting."

Dunne is still planning on playing in the Walker Cup at Royal Lytham and St Annes in September before turning professional and hopes he will carry on his outstanding form from the weekend.

"It was nice and reassuring to know that when I play well, it can put me up on the leaderboard. I was playing well going into it, I played well in the three practice rounds I played.

"I didn't have any expectations that I would win the tournament, but I was expecting to play well.

"It was a great week and a great experience."

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