Paul Dunne needs little introduction. The 22-year-old became a household name overnight at the 2015 Open at St Andrews, where, still an amateur, he shared the lead after 54 holes. Sadly, nerves got the better of Dunne in the final round, where a 78 saw him fall to T-30, losing the silver medal to America’s Jordan Niebrugge. The tension was clear for all to see on the first two holes, where a chunked approach on the first ended up short of the Swilcan burn, and a tee shot on the second went so far right it finished on the practice putting green.
It was still an unbelievable achievement from Dunne, becoming the first amateur in 88 years to lead The Open going into the final round. It wasn’t his first appearance, either. He qualified for the 2014 Open through a qualifying event at Woburn, but rounds of 75 and 73 at Hoylake saw him miss the cut by two shots.
Dunne played college golf at the University of Alabama, which Graeme McDowell attended. In 2014, he was named Conference USA Golfer of the Year.
“This was probably more stressful than The Open,” he said, after securing his card with a 10-under total that saw him finish 16th in the Final Qualifying Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort.