Sport Golf

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Walker Cup trio happy to keep the home fires burning

Paul Dunne has yet to compete in an Irish Open Photo: Bill Murray / SPORTSFILE
Paul Dunne has yet to compete in an Irish Open Photo: Bill Murray / SPORTSFILE
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Housemates and Walker Cup 2015 team members Paul Dunne, Jack Hume and Gary Hurley are all set for a week to remember in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at The K Club.

Tour pros Dunne and Hurley, and amateur Hume, live close to Straffan where they will tee it up in the first Irish Open to be hosted by the 2006 Ryder Cup venue.

Dunne, 23, who earned his full Tour credentials at Q-School last November, has never played in the venerable national Open, although he did make a trip as a spectator to Co Louth in 2009 for the first two rounds.

That was the year that Shane Lowry shocked the world of golf by winning the Open as an amateur.

The latest wave of young Irish players to emerge from the GUI ranks holds the tournament in the highest esteem, and they would love to emulate Lowry by winning the championship.

The topic came up for discussion as Dunne and Hume watched the final round of The Players Championship on Sunday.

"We were talking about whether you'd rather win The Players, or the Irish Open.

"For the Irish guys it definitely comes as a fifth Major I guess, behind the Majors and the World Golf Championships. Definitely one that everyone wants to win, so it would be great to do well," said Dunne (above).

Of the five Irish who helped GB & Ireland defeat the USA in the 2015 Walker Cup, four have turned pro - Dunne, Hurley, Gavin Moynihan, and Cormac Sharvin.

Hume remained in the unpaid ranks but is expected to turn pro later this year.

The Naas GC member, runner-up in the Irish Amateur Open last Sunday week, is in fine form, as Dunne well knows.

"We played nine holes yesterday. We didn't play for money. The loser had to cook the dinner, so I was on chef duties," said Dunne.

Dunne had suffered a serious bout of colitis, due most likely to food he ate at the recent Tour event in Morocco and needed treatment all last week.

"I'm fine. I'll be a hundred per cent by Thursday," he added.

Irish Independent

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