Sport Golf

Saturday 21 September 2019

Power cuts it fine to retain PGA Tour card


Paul Dunne: ‘Nerve-wracking’ Photo: Reuters
Paul Dunne: ‘Nerve-wracking’ Photo: Reuters

Liam Kelly

Paul Dunne's maiden European Tour victory on Sunday was followed by another significant Irish achievement when Seamus Power retained his PGA Tour card at the Web.Com Tour Championship at Atlantic Beach in Florida yesterday.

Power, who won his card in 2016 in the Web.Com Tour, had to make a last-gasp effort, but he managed to survive by finishing 25th in the play-off series that earned him his playing rights for the 2017-'18 campaign. Bad weather forced the final tournament into a Monday finish, and Power closed with 71 for a six-under-par total (278).

The Waterford native finished 48th, earning $2,975 for a total $40,625 take from the Tour finals series, and it was just enough for Power to take the last place on offer. The margins were so tight in the end that Power edged out his rivals by just making the cut at Atlantic Beach. That earned him that $2,975 which kept him ahead of 26th-placed Adam Svensson.

Matt Harmon of the USA looked set to push Power into 26th spot last night but a three-putt bogey on his final hole derailed the American's bid. A dejected Harmon snapped his putter in two as he walked off the 18th. These finals have replaced the PGA Tour Q-School, and for Power to survive is a major boost to his career.

Meanwhile, Dunne is the man of the moment in Irish golf. The Greystones golfer's victory in the British Masters at Close House brought him a cheque for €566,000, and boosted his season's earnings to €1,296,408. He also gains a two-year exemption on the European Tour, and moves to 12th in the Race to Dubai rankings.

A place in the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai also opens up, and Dunne's world ranking is expected to have improved from 192 to inside the top 100 when the latest listings are published today following the Web.Com Tour Championship.

His 61 in the final round, completed with a stunning pitch-in birdie on the last, was a triumph for hard work, dedication, and patience since he turned pro after the 2015 Walker Cup.

Dunne, who turns 25 on November 26, will not rest on his laurels, much as he was delighted with his victory. He travelled from Newcastle to St Andrews on Sunday night for this week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland with fellow Irishman Shane Lowry.

Speaking to East Coast Radio yesterday, Dunne said: "I'm delighted. I can't wait to see my family and celebrate with them."

Dunne coped admirably with the pressure of trying to get the job done while knowing that Rory McIlroy was in the clubhouse on 17-under, and just waiting for the Wicklow man to falter so he could get into a play-off.

But it never happened, as Dunne shut the door with a birdie, birdie, finish for 20-under par.

"That's what we practise for. I like to be in that situation, even if it's on a Tuesday and I'm playing for 20 quid against someone.

"It is a nerve-wracking situation but it's also exciting. Even now the next day I can't wait to get back there again," he said.

He also revealed that he made time to do a little bit of celebrating with Lowry and their respective caddies, Darren Reynolds and Dermot Byrne.

"I drove up last night. Shane Lowry was good enough to wait for me, and I had to do all the interviews and the pictures and everything.

"Then we drove up to St Andrews and had an 'Irish night out' in St Andrews last night," said Dunne.

Irish Independent

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