Despite discomfort with greens, Paul Dunne storms to 36-hole lead at Spanish Open

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Despite discomfort with greens, Paul Dunne storms to 36-hole lead at Spanish Open

Euro Tour

Despite discomfort with greens, Paul Dunne storms to 36-hole lead at Spanish Open

Former UAB star Paul Dunne’s complaints about finding and then reading the greens of the Centro Nacional de Golf seem a little hollow. The Irishman is 13 under for 36 holes at the Spanish Open, and leads the $1.8 million by three shots.

Dunne fired an opening 6-under 66 and said: “I find the greens quite tricky to read,” before adding: “The greens aren’t that big. It’s a matter of trying to take advantage of the short irons when you get them because it’s pretty easy to just one-hop over greens.”

He went one shot better in the second round with a 7-under 65. If that’s what he can do when the greens are hard to read and difficult to find, you have to wonder what score he would be on if the greens were bigger and easier to read?

The 25-year-old never really has to worry about missing greens: he’s got one of the best short games on tour. He used it to good effect in round two, and could be even further ahead. He made nine birdies but threw in a couple of bogeys at the second and eighth holes.

The 2015 Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup player is chasing his second European Tour win following victory in last year’s British Masters. Dunne held off a charging Rory McIlroy last October by posting a closing 61 to win his first European Tour title by three shots.

Dunne doesn’t have to worry about McIlroy this week, but he has some pretty strong players behind him. England’s Callum Shinkwin, home favorite Nacho Elvira and experienced Australian Brett Rumford are Dunne’s nearest competitors on 10 under.

Jon Rahm might be the player to deny Dunne. The World No. 4 added a 68 to his first round 67 to sit in joint fifth place on 9 under. Rahm opened his second round with an eagle at the par-5 first. He made birdies at the fifth and 11th holes to move to 9 under before racking up a double bogey at the 12th.

Rafa Cabrera Bello, the second highest ranked player in the field at World No. 24, missed the cut by one shot despite a 68.

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