McDow­ell backs Dunne to flour­ish in paid ranks

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - SPORT -

Ir­ish am­a­teur Paul Dunne will turn pro­fes­sional later this year af­ter tak­ing the 144th Open cham­pi­onship by storm and ma­jor win­ner Graeme McDow­ell be­lieves the 22- year- old has the tal­ent to suc­ceed im­me­di­ately.

Dunne be­gan the fi­nal round at St An­drews in a share of the lead look­ing to be­come the first golfer from the un­paid ranks to win the Claret Jug since Bobby Jones in 1930.

A six-over-par 78 dropped him down the leader­board to such an ex­tent he did not even win the Sil­ver Medal for lead­ing am­a­teur but, af­ter Septem­ber’s Walker Cup, Dunne will make the step up to pro­fes­sional.

“Cer­tainly once the Walker Cup i s over – whether he’s se­lected or not – he’s go­ing to have a go at turn­ing pro­fes­sional,” said his fa­ther, Colum.

McDow­ell, the 2012 US Open­win­ner­whoat­tended the same col­lege as Dunne – theUniver­si­ty­ofAlabama – be­lieves the golfer from Grey­stones, County Wick­low has proved he can cope with the ad­di­tional pres­sure and de­mands.

“I played with him early in the week and he hit the ball very well with a tech­ni­cally-cor­rect swing,” said the North­ern Ir­ish­man.

“Lis­ten­ing to a few of his press con­fer­ences he seems like a wise old owl for some­one his age.

“He seems like a re­ally cool char­ac­ter. I liked his com­ments about be­ing sur­prised to be lead­ing an Open cham­pi­onship, but not sur­prised about the num­bers he shot.

“He has that Jor­dan Spi­eth ma­tu­rity to him a lit­tle bit.”

The Ry­der Cup player be­lieves that, had Dunne main­tained his progress and fin­ished strongly in the fi­nal round, he should have turned pro­fes­sional im­me­di­ately but ad­mits the Walker Cup is also a spe­cial event to be in­volved in.

“If he had a good fin­ish I don’t know what he would have needed to have waited for the Walker Cup for,” he added.

“The Walker Cup is one of the fond­est mem­o­ries of my ca­reer but it means noth­ing as soon as you press the pro­fes­sional but­ton.

“He needs starts and has an op­por­tu­nity be­tween now and the end of the sea­son to per­haps get his Euro­pean Tour card and those ex­tra five weeks could be ben­e­fi­cial to him.

“It is a tough call and I’m not the guy to ad­vise him.”

Dunne was one of five am­a­teurs to make the cut at St An­drews mean­ing there was in­tense com­pe­ti­tion for the Sil­ver Medal, with Amer­i­can Jor­dan Niebrugge even­tu­ally pre­vail­ing.

“When we see three am­a­teurs within three or four shots of the lead it says it all about how good they are,” said McDow­ell.

“There is a belief and ac­cep­tance of com­pet­ing at the top level as a young­ster now – at the likes of 19, 20 and 21 years old.

“There is def­i­nitely a readi­ness now which was not there when I was turn­ing pro.”

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