Saturday 15 December 2018

Top-10 finish hands Dunne a Masters lifeline

Ireland's Seamus Power. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Ireland's Seamus Power. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Paul Dunne was handed a late Masters lifeline last night when he tied fifth with Seamus Power in the PGA Tour's Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.

The Greystones man needed his first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour to be offered a place in this week's Houston Open and a final chance to qualify for Augusta National with a win.

He made four birdies in his first eight holes, and while he bogeyed the 18th for a three-under 69, it was good enough for an eight-way tie for fifth on 11-under with Power, who shot 71 to secure his best PGA Tour finish.

Power was already in the field at the Golf Club of Houston alongside Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington with Dunne now joining them - all four will be hoping to snatch a last-gasp win and join Rory McIlroy in the first Major of the season next week.

American Brice Garnett completed a wire-to-wire win at Corales Golf Club, closing with a 70 to win by four shots from Keith Mitchell on 18-under par.

On the Challenge Tour Michael Hoey and Cormac Sharvin finished tied for 18th behind Italy's Lorenzo Gagli in the Barclays Kenya Open but West Waterford's Gary Hurley had a day to forget.

Gagli (32) secured his first victory when he birdied the 18th to force a play-off with Sweden's Jens Fahrbring, then parred the third extra hole to claim the €80,000 winner's cheque.

Fahrbring shot a four-under 67 to set the target at 11-under before Gagli birdied the 18th for a 68 to match him, then won with a par at the third extra hole.

Hoey shot 70 and Sharvin a 69 to share 18th on six-under, earning €5,379 each. But Hurley, who was tied eighth starting the day after a third-round 66, closed with a 79 to finish tied 54th on one-over, earning just €1,775.

Meanwhile, Bubba Watson denied Justin Thomas the world-number-one spot when he beat the reigning US PGA champion 3 and 2, before trouncing Kevin Kisner 7 and 6 in last night's final of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas.

Thomas had to reach the final to take over from Dustin Johnson at the top of the world rankings and admitted he found it hard to focus. "I haven't had such a hard time not thinking about something so much," Thomas said. "And that really sucked. I couldn't stop thinking about it, to be perfectly honest."

Kisner, who was out of sorts in the final, hard earlier edged out Sweden's Alex Noren with a birdie at the 19th (the par-five 12th) to take his place in the decider, leaving the Swede and Thomas to fight it out for the $695,000 (€563,000) third-place cheque.

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