Saturday 22 October 2016

'we're bu rsting with pride' - club's pr aise for star paul


golfing ace Paul Dunne's dad has spoken of his pride in his son's achievements at the British Open.

The 22-year-old from Greystones led the prestigious tournament at one point and he was the toast of his home town, even if the last day didn't go how he might have hoped.

A five over par final round saw Paul finish nine shots adrift of the winner Zach Johnson.

"I was nervous but nothing anything different to the last three days," Dunne said after his final round.

His dad, Colum this morning said he is "so proud" at the young man's stellar performance at St Andrews.


"It's been an incredible week really and it's difficult to even put into words how things went.

"Every day just seemed to get better and then it was a difficult day for him yesterday.

"He's certainly very pleased with his performance," Colum said.

"Obviously when guys go in and they have a last round and things don't go according to plan, it just takes a little while to get over that."

He was speaking to RTE's Brendan O'Connor who asked him if the pressure of leading the tournament got to his son on the final day.

"To be honest I haven't had that conversation with him. I think it would be very, very difficult for some of the pressure not to get to you," Colum replied.

"It was pretty amazing to watch him. He really stuck in there when it wasn't going well and that's a huge credit to him."

He thanked the pro golfers like Louis Oosthuizen and Jordan Spieth who encouraged Paul at the tournament.

"The amount of good will from the other golfers was absolutely incredible," Colum said.

"Certainly once the Walker Cup is over - whether he's selected or not, he's certainly going to have a go at turning professional."

The roars from Paul's local golf club in Greystones could be heard in the streets outside long before he had embarked on his final round yesterday.

At the start of play earlier in the day, members packed out their clubhouse with the nearby fairways and greens left empty.

"Sssshhhhh, he'll hear us," joked one member before Dunne was afforded a respectful silence as he launched the final leg of his quest to become the first amateur to win the British Open since 1930.


Dunne placed his ball and studied it meticulously, ensuring that he set himself up right before getting under way. Time appeared to stand still before the 22-year-old swung his driver and a number watching in the bar had mistaken his composed nature for stage fright.

However, Greystones lady captain Jeanne Thorpe was always certain that Paul would acquit himself well.

"The amount of work he puts into his game is fantastic and everyone around here would know him for that," she said.

"He is very talented. He has a lot of natural flare and he is a good sportsman so he deserves every bit of this."

Those watching at home spoke of the memories each had of Paul, all similarly involving him honing and fine-tuning his game at the club.

Club member Gerry Browner said Dunne's family paved the way for his success.

"I remember a story where he was down in Munster playing in an amateur competition and it was his turn to wash the dishes at home," said Gerry.

"He still had to come home and wash them that night because he was treated the same as his brother and sister."


Paul has just returned from America, where he graduated with a degree in Business Finance from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, Graeme McDowell's alma mater.

Gerry said that this was as important as any of Paul's golf achievements to his parents Colum and Michelle.

Everyone at the club was keen to point out the work and dedication Paul has applied to his game over the past few years.

Some members had gathered in the car park at 4am yesterday before travelling to St Andrews to catch the final round.

"They just could not miss it," said the club captain Michael Joyce's wife, Celine.

"Michael went over on Thursday with some other members but when Paul did so well he went back over with the club pro and the vice-captain on Sunday," she added.

Despite Paul's slip down the leader board as play progressed he was still toasted in Greystones as he marched up the 18th fairway last night, with flutes of champagne passed around the clubhouse.

Celine said everyone at the club was proud. "They are having a ball and we are just bursting with pride that Paul is where he is today," she said.


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