Lost? Not for long as Dunne wins Open qualifier
WOBURN, England – Ireland’s Paul Dunne fed off Europe’s recent Palmer Cup victory to book himself a place in the Open Championship later this month at Royal Liverpool. The Alabama-Birmingham senior took the No. 1 spot Tuesday at Woburn Golf Club.
Dunne went straight to Ian Poulter’s home club for Final Qualifying after helping Europe to an 18½–11½ victory Saturday over the United States in the annual matchup of collegians. The Irishman nearly blew a three-hole lead to World No. 3 Robby Shelton in the final singles session at Walton Heath but prevailed when he got up and down at the 18th hole to win, 1 up.
However, Dunne nearly blew it at Woburn without hitting a shot. He had to start on the 10th tee, but didn’t realize the tee was more than two miles from the clubhouse. Dunne, 21, made his tee time with seconds to spare.
“It gave me a bit of fright,” Dunne conceded. “I misjudged the time it would take, but fortunately I managed to hit my opening tee shot right down the middle.”
After that, he simply was too good for the rest of the field. Dunne fired a pair of 5-under 67s to earn his first start in a major championship.
“It’s been an incredible couple of days, with here and the Palmer Cup at Walton Heath,” Dunne said. “This is the first time I’ve played in an event like this, and I wasn’t sure what would be a good score. So I just decided to press, and it turned out well.”
England’s Oliver Fisher took the second spot with rounds of 67-70 to finish at 7 under and qualify for his third Open Championship.
Rhys Enoch took the third spot at Woburn in dramatic fashion. The former East Tennessee State player tied with Australia’s Jack Wilson and England's Tomasz Anderson, a senior at Jacksonville (Ala.) State, at 6 under. Enoch, 26, of Wales, brought the sudden-death playoff to an abrupt halt when he pitched in for birdie from behind the first green.
Scotland’s Marc Warren took the first spot at Glasgow Gailes with scores of 69 and 64 for a 9-under 133. Fellow Scot Jamie McLeary took the second spot. The former Baylor player opened with an 8-under 63 and added a 72 to qualify at 7 under.
Paul McKechnie made it a Scottish threesome with a birdie at the first playoff hole to deny Welshman Rhys Davies after they had tied at 3-under 139.
Englishmen Matthew Southgate and Chris Rodgers took two of the three spots at Sunningdale, finishing first and third, respectively. Byeong-Hun An took the second place. Southgate returned rounds of 70 and 64 for a 4-under 134. An was one shot back at 69-66–135, while Rodgers took the third spot at 67-72–139.
At Hillside, four players tied at 6-under 138, forcing a 4-for-3 playoff. Sweden's Oscar Floren and Englishmen Christopher Hanson and John Singleton advanced when English amateur Nick Marsh bogeyed the second playoff hole.