Ireland’s Paul Dunne continues to ride the crest of a golfing wave, sharing the lead at five under par after shooting a 67 in the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The 24-year-old – fresh from winning the British Masters last weekend – eagled the ninth hole and picked up four birdies in bright but cold and windy conditions on the Old Course at St. Andrews – one of three host venues in the $US5 million pro-am event.
The Irishman shares the lead with Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts who fought back from a horror triple bogey at the third hole at Kingsbarns to birdie the next three holes and added two further birdies on the closing two holes.
Dunne’s only mistake was dropping a shot on the 17th at the famed ‘Road Hole’ and then missing his birdie attempt at the last.
“It felt a lot different teeing-up as a European Tour winner as Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday just flew by this week,” he said.
“It felt good and my game still feels good, and I got onto the first tee still feeling confident with my swing and the win does take the pressure off you.
“My iron play was very solid and while it was a disappointing finish, in general all things feel good and life is pretty good at the minute.”
Dunne was competing at St. Andrews for the first time in two years after leading the Open Championship heading into the last round.
However, after his dramatic victory less than a week ago – which included birdies on his closing two holes to deny four-time major winner Rory McIlroy – Dunne is a lot more confident.
“Leading the Open was a good thing for me as it opened so many doors in terms of sponsors and invitations but then how many times are you going to lead The Open and St. Andrews with a round to go?” he said.
“It was a situation I wasn’t comfortable with at the time and may have overwhelmed me but I am in a place now to be able to deal with it, so I have more good memories than bad.”
Colsaerts, 34, is seeking a first victory in more than five years but after his horror start the Belgian was pleased to turn it around.
“I just kept very much composed and it really could have been a lot lower but I pressed it till the end, which is nice,” he said.
Five players – defending champion Tyrrell Hatton and Oliver Fisher from England, New Zealand’s Ryan Fox, Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Frenchman Joel Stalter – share third place at four under par.
McIlroy looked no closer to winning a first tournament this year, and in his last event of 2017, shooting a one-over 73.
“It was difficult to get any momentum going and that’s the big thing as you’re waiting around a lot and you don’t really have any rhythm or anything,” said McIlroy.
“It is a little easier when you get off to a good start. When you get off to a slow start, you’re waiting a lot and that can be quite difficult.”
Harry Redknapp will be among the attendees at the The ‘Swing Against Cancer’ Charity Golf Series finale, which will feature sporting legends from football, rugby, and golf, on October 26 at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The former Tottenham, Portsmouth, and Southampton manager, whose most recent job was as manager of Championship side Birmingham city, is set to be one of the star attractions at the event, which will include a celebrity Q&A and a chance for pro and amateur golfers to compete against celebrities for two grand prizes.
The Swing Against Cancer Charity Golf Series 2017, launched by Sixteen10 and Worlswide Golf, follows on from the success of the Mike Clark Charity Golf Day, which over four years has raised more than US$125,000 for the Friends of Cancer Patients Society (FoCP), and over $50,000 in 2016 alone.
Clark, a former UAE resident, golfing enthusiast, and Jumeirah Golf Estates employee, tragically passed away from cancer aged 30 on October 16, 2012 – hence the name Sixteen10.
This year’s event will help raise much needed funds for the Friends of Cancer Patients society, and will go directly towards the treatment of two UAE residents, Waleed, a 37-year-old man suffering from rectal cancer, and a 2-year-old boy suffering from leukaemia.
Individual tickets for the evening event are only AED 395, and a table of 10 just AED 3,500. Tickets can be reserved by calling +971 56 442 1067 or by emailing [email protected]
Matthew Fitzpatrick beat Scott Hend in a dramatic play-off to win the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
The 2016 DP World Tour Championship winner entered the final round four shots behind Australian Hend but produced a closing 64 to get to 14 under and take the contest to extra holes in the Swiss Alps.
Hend – who lost to Alex Noren in a play-off at this event last season – missed a six-foot putt for victory on the second extra hole but found sand off the tee on the next trip up the 18th and after he flew the green with his second, a par was enough to seal victory for Fitzpatrick.
“I’m delighted,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s one that I’ve always wanted to win. I love playing this golf course, from the first ever year I came as an invite in 2014 it’s one that has really stood out on my schedule and I always want to come back and play.”
Fitzpatrick made four birdies and a bogey in his first eight holes to catch up to Hend and when he added further gains on the 10th, 14th, 15th and 16th, the Ryder Cup star held a two-shot lead.
Hend then hit back with a birdie on the 15th and a Fitzpatrick bogey on the 17th set up the dramatic finish.
England’s Tyrrell Hatton birdied four of his last six holes to finish at 11 under alongside Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti, with another Englishman in Lee Slattery two shots further back.
Scot Duncan Stewart was then at eight under, with former world number one Lee Westwood finishing at level par in his 500th European Tour event.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood remains at the head of the Race to Dubai rankings with 3,771,122 points, while Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with a season-tally of 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third spot on 2,761,857, with Dubai based Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello in fourth place with 2,124,686 points.