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An incredible journey for young Irish lad Paul Dunne!

An incredible journey for young Irish lad Paul Dunne!

An incredible journey for young Irish lad Paul Dunne!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

Watching Paul Dunne during the British Open, I recalled a similar amateur having a great week at the British Open, Justin Rose!  

Justin went on to win the US Open and become one of the premier players in world golf.  I wonder what is in store for young Paul?

This wonderful Irish golfer offers us his very personal insights into his experiences at the Open this year. Dunne is a humble but very talented young man tied for the lead entering the final round.

Read about his rounds with the world’s top players, his amazement at the crowds, how he dealt with weather interruptions, etc. I love the part where he admits he set 7 alarms to go off in the early morning of the first round!

Thanks to Paul Dunne and the Irish Times for a great tale.

Check out this video too.

An incredible journey for young Irish lad Paul Dunne!

We all had our own ways of getting to St Andrew’s.

I know Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson were among those who hopped on the charter flight from the John DeereClassic but my journey was quite different. I’d been playing for Ireland in the European Team Championships in Sweden and we had about a three-hour train ride down to Copenhagen, a flight to Dublin, where I had to stay for some time in the airport, and then caught another flight to Edinburgh.

I arrived in Edinburgh pretty late on Sunday night and went straight to our rented house in Elie, a town about 20 miles from St Andrews. My mam, dad and Alan Murraywere already there and had sent me the address. I just went straight into the house, didn’t knock on the door or anything, and walked straight into someone else’s house. I was nearly attacked by their dog and the people came out laughing, and then pointed me in the right direction – around the side of their house – where I needed to go. It had been a long day and I was tired and I didn’t bother setting any alarm. I just slept until I woke up.

When I arrived at St Andrew’s on Monday, I did the first thing to register in the clubhouse.

There were a few desks with administration staff, you sit down, sign your name, give your contact details for the week, get your player’s ID badge, tickets for your family and they give you a locker key. There was a good luck note in mine from Titleist, with a couple of dozen golf balls and four gloves for the week.I hadn’t organised any practice round but I met Shane Lowry at lunch and he told me he was due to play with G-Mac. Did I want to play? It couldn’t have worked out any better if you’d planned it. I went to practice for a couple of hours before we headed out. Shane played the first five holes with us, along with Daniel Brooks, and then Graeme and myself played from six to 18, just the two of us and not a lot of people.

At one point, Graeme took a photo of me from behind and put it onto his Twitter account with a contest with a prize for the first person to guess who I was.

An incredible journey for young Irish lad Paul Dunne!

In the first 30 guesses, there were 28 Jordan Spieths and two Vijay Singhs. My Irish team-mate Cormac Sharvin was actually the first to correctly get the answer.

I made a point of playing practice rounds with different players. On Tuesday, I played with Matteo Manassero – Cormac’s uncle, Brian, is his caddie – and Francesco Molinari and Ben An andDanny Lee joined us. On Wednesday I was due to play withBrooks Koepka but he didn’t want to play because it was raining. I went out on my own, starting on 17, and Adam Scott, who was on the 16th, asked could he play the last few holes with me.

He played 17, 18 and the first and then I met up with Ollie Schniederjans. It was great to play with so many different players, to get different perspectives on how to play the course. I spoke to everyone, about where to hit it, how to avoid different bunkers, learnt different things every day. Everyone I played with was very good about it, it is not like unlocking the secrets, you want to know where you have to hit it.

During Thursday, July 16th –First Round.

I’d gone to bed at eight o’clock the night before. I never go to bed that early. I couldn’t get to sleep and it was probably half 10 before I slept. I’d a 6.43am tee time and had set seven alarms, to go off every two minutes, from 4am to 4.15m. I got up at a quarter past, and was the last one up. Everyone else in the house was up, afraid I would sleep in. I had a bowl of muesli and a yoghurt and was off the course. I was ready.

Before I go out, I give myself a number in my head. It’s something I used to do years ago, playing in boys’ events, but had stopped doing. I started doing it again during the NCAAs in the last round when I had a chance to win there and have continued doing since. I found that putting a number in my head focused me on shooting a score. My target was a 68.

I got off to a quick start and birdied the first two.

Got really good yardages which meant I could spin it a lot. I birdied the Par 5 fifth and got an unlikely birdie on the ninth, where I made a long one. Part of the gameplan I had drawn up with Alan (Murray) was to make no bogeys and I was disappointed to three-putt from the edge of the 11th. I was happy to par my way in, happy enough with 69 even though it was a shot more than I had in my head.

Afterwards, I had lunch, did some short game practice and went back to the house and slept for a couple of hours. My mam and my brother David made dinner for us – the nine of us staying in the house – and afterwards I either watched TV or went to my room, which was the only place I could get Wifi. If I wanted to go on my phone, do social media or whatever, I had to go to my room. If I wanted to watch the golf on TV, I’d go to the livingroom. It was a nice little separation.

An incredible journey for young Irish lad Paul Dunne!

Friday, July 17th – Second Round.

I’d looked at the forecast the night before it said it would rain until 11, then the wind would drop and get back up at four. I was meant to be out at 11.43am. I literally had the perfect tee time, I couldn’t believe it. But when I woke up, I saw there was a three hour delay and I was thinking: “Oh, now I am going to get the windy part of the day.”

By the time I got to play, late in the afternoon, the wind direction had changed. The first day it was down off the right on the front nine and off the left on the back nine, playing really tough. It had completely flipped and the front nine was straight off the left and the back nine was straight off the right, so the whole course was playable. It didn’t make any hole too long in the crosswinds. You just had to control the flight of the ball, so there were birdies on both sides. I had a number again, I thought 70 would be good.

Started slowly, and, on nine, I had a wedge shot in.

I said to Alan, “it’s about time I hit one close”. Managed to hit one into about three feet and my round started. I birdied 14. On the 15th, I had a six-iron in and I noticed Tiger Woods was standing about five yards from me, waiting to play number four. “Go ahead,” he said. I hadn’t been nervous all day but was so nervous playing that shot, because Tiger was watching me. It made no sense. I hit a good one and made three.

The thought of just making the cut had never entered my head going out. I knew I was hitting it well enough not to have to worry about shooting three- or four-over in a cross wind, that I wasn’t going to make a heap of bogeys in a row. I shot 69 again. My first day’s number had been 68, my second day 70 – so two 69s was pleasing. I was spot on.

My two playing partners, Todd Hamilton and James Hahn, both missed the cut and wished me well. James told me he hoped to see me on the PGA Tour with him some day. It was late, so we all ate at the course that night; and because play hadn’t finished, I set my alarm for nine o’clock the next morning to see when I would be playing again.

Saturday, July 18th – Completion of Second Round.

I slept well, knowing there was no early start for me. As it turned out, the high winds meant those completing their second rounds didn’t get very far.

I didn’t do much. Once I got word I wouldn’t be playing, I went out with my brother and sister and ma out to the beach and threw a rugby ball around. It wasn’t like we were tackling each other. So, it was either throwing the ball or just resting for most of the day.

About five o’clock, I went up to the course and did some work just to stay loose really, more a matter of maintenance. I spent two hours there, hit balls for about 45 minutes, chipped for 20 minutes and putted for the rest of the time. When we were in college in UAB, Alan always set up putting games and chipping games for us. We just did that, set up some games, see how many you could make out of a certain amount from around the hole, then just went back and had some dinner.

We were joined by Shane Lowry, Neil Manchip, his wife Aideen and son Hugo – their house was about 150 yards away from ours – and we were just having a general chat.

The text with the tee times came about 10 and I saw I was playing with Louis Oosthuizen, which was cool. Once I had my tee time it was just normal, just get ready for another round of golf.

To read the rest of Paul’s incredible journey and the final 2 rounds, go here.

Source: Irish Times

Thanks for reading – An incredible journey for young Irish lad Paul Dunne!

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