Paul Dunne has set his sights on a repeat Kingsbarns blitz to help set-up victory in the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
Paul Dunne / Image from Golffile
Dunne toughed out the bright but bitterly cold conditions at Carnoustie to shoot a four-under par 68 and move into a share of third place at nine-under par, just two off the lead, at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
It was a day to remember for European Tour No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood who brilliantly set a new Carnoustie course record, producing a bogey-free nine-under par 63 on a course that will play host to next year’s Open Championship.
The mop-top, bearded and new dad’s effort was a shot lower than the 64 enjoyed by 10 others and saw Fleetwood join fellow Englishman and defending champion, Tyrrell Hatton in the lead at 11-under par.
“I wasn’t aware it was a course record until I holed that birdie at the last and someone mentioned it to me,” Fleetwood said.
“So, it’s all in a day’s work”, (smiling).
Dunne sandwiched six Carnoustie birdies in between bogeys at the second and 17th holes as the Greystones golfer continued his impressive form following on the back of last Sunday’s British Masters triumph.
“I struggled through the first five holes staying at even par, and then from the sixth, I started to hit it well,” he said.
“I started to play the golf I’ve been playing over the last couple of weeks and was pretty stress-free. I was hitting a lot of greens, getting the ball in play off the tee, giving myself a lot of chances.”
“I bogeyed 17, but it’s playing tough. It’s a tough finish here. So, to play the last three in level par, I would have taken it on the 16th tee.”
“Overall, my game is feeling good and hopefully I can make a few birdies at Kingsbarns tomorrow. This is the first time I’ve broken par here at Carnoustie, so that’s pretty good”.
Two years ago, Dunne was at Kingsbarns Links to make his debut in the Dunhill event and he did so in spectacular manner with an ace en route to a 64.
Now the quietly-spoken Dunne is looking for much the same fireworks.
“It’s hard to know where you sit until everyone has played all three courses because everyone has a different test ahead of them tomorrow,” he said.
“I’ll just try to play as well as I can tomorrow and hopefully have a chance to win on Sunday.”
Double Dunhill winner, Padraig Harrington, Gavin Moynihan and Graeme McDowell are next best of the Irish but in a distant share of 41st place at four-under par.
Harrington posted five birdies in a 68 at Carnoustie nine years on from winning the 2008 Open at the same course while Moynihan added a second straight 70 on day two at St. Andrews.
McDowell found the Barrie Burn guarding the 18th at Carnoustie which cost him a closing bogey in a round of 71.
Shane Lowry has seen his challenge slide in a bogey-littered 75 at Carnoustie to slump to one-under and two shots shy of the projected three-under par cut.
And Rory McIlroy’s frustrating season looks set to come to an end at Kingsbarns Links tomorrow after taking a horror triple-bogey ‘7’ at the sixth hole on route to a 71 at Carnoustie.
McIlroy heads into day three sharing 98th place at level par.