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Thursday 14 December 2017

Dunne stays right in the hunt

Greystones star fires 68 to keep on leaders' trail as Rory falters

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Paul Dunne kept himself right in the hunt for back-to-back European Tour triumphs by firing a four-under-par 68 in the second round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

The Greystones man, who won the British Masters in such style last week, moved to nine under overall, two shots off the pace jointly set by Tommy Fleetwood - who shot a Carnoustie course-record 63 - and defending champion Tyrell Hatton.

Fleetwood, leader in the Race to Dubai standings, shot a blemish-free nine-under-par round at the venue for next year's British Open to join Hatton on 11 under.

Hatton, who was also playing his second round in the three-course event at Carnoustie, did not drop a shot either in a seven-under-par 65.

The pair led by one shot from Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, who shot 67 at St Andrews after recovering from a double bogey on his first hole.

First-round co-leader Dunne was in a tie for fourth with Germany's Marcel Siem.

Rory McIlroy, hoping to end a frustrating year with a win, was overshadowed by playing partner Fleetwood. The Northern Irishman ended the day 11 shots off the lead on level par after a 71 which included a double-bogey seven on the sixth.

With the cut coming after 54 holes, the Northern Irishman is not yet out of the tournament but he must make up a lot of ground as he plays Kingsbarns today.

Barring miracles, though, the world No 6 looks destined to end the season without a trophy, for the first time since 2008.

Dunne, playing Carnoustie, bogeyed the second and the second last, but in between he made birdies on the third, sixth, tenth and 12th. He nearly put his second in the bunker on the 14th but got down in two for birdie and rolled in a long putt on the 16th.

Fellow Irishmen Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Gavin Moynihan are joint-31st on four under.

Three-time Major winner Harrington hauled himself up the leaderboard with a 68.

McDowell will be frustrated, having double-bogeyed the 18th on his way to a 71.

Dubliner Moynihan, by contrast finished with a birdie as he carded a 70.

Shane Lowry had a desperately disappointing day. The Offaly man had opened with a 68 but slumped out of contention with a three-over par 75.

Fleetwood's round included a run of five successive birdies on the back nine. He almost extended that sequence to six when a birdie putt from off the green on the 16th narrowly missed the hole. He might even have had an eagle on 15th too when his second shot at the par four bounced onto the green and hit the flag.

He finished his round in style by picking up his ninth birdie at the 18th. Fleetwood, who became a father last week, was asked how it felt to break the course record.

The 26-year-old said: "It sounds good doesn't it? You don't really think too much about it when you are playing but then I holed that one on the last and they said it was a course record. So, all in all, it was a good day's work!"

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