Paul Dunne faces a grinding five-event schedule on three different continents before finally bringing down the curtain on his stunning season.
The reigning British Masters champion is contesting the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya which starts tomorrow before signing off on November 26th in far off Hong Kong.
Dunne began the big golfing trek by journeying from Dublin to Shanghai and then last Sunday went from there to Turkey. He will head then to Sun City in South Africa for the Nedbank Challenge before flying to Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship and the closing event of the 2016/17 wraparound schedule.
And the Greystones golfer won’t be done for the year in Dubai as he will be heading from Dubai to Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Open and the first event of the new 2017/18 season.
When Dunne finally gets back to Dublin he will have flown well over 58,000 kilometres.
Little wonder the quietly-spoken and soon-to-be 25-year old is already struggling to get a decent night’s kip.
“It’s a busy stretch I have committed myself to over these five weeks and the biggest thing is managing sleep,” he said. “I got here Monday morning from Shanghai but I spent all day in bed. I was in a coma.”
“It was a long trip from China and close to 16 hours with a 12-hour flight to Istanbul and we had to stay on plane there a long time, but time zones weren’t too bad because we were going west and it is easier to adjust.”
“The thing is also since winning the British Masters I’ve had that one week off and now this week’s Turkish Airlines Open is the second of five in a row. The events I have played have been big events, starting with the Dunhill Links in the week after I won and then the Italian Open before I had a week at home. But then I was getting ready for China and these four weeks after it.”
“I haven’t had time to reset goals and I’ve been focusing on just keeping playing well and seeing if I I can win again, so that is now what I will do over Christmas period.”
Those goals will hinge on his eventual Race to Dubai standing at the close of the season late on Sunday November 19th.
Dunne is currently 14th on the Race to Dubai and should he remain inside the top-30, which he looks assured to he earns a place in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
And top-20 also qualifies him next March for the WGC – Mexico Championship while his British Masters success opened the door in teeing-up in August at the WGC – Bridgesone Invitational.
Should Dunne end the year top-10 then there’s next year’s European EurAsia Cup team and the strong likelihood of a number of PGA Tour invitations should he seek them.
“I would have to play poorly these three weeks not to finish top 20 on the Race to Duba, so I am kind of forgetting about that,” he said.
“Ending the year top-10 qualifies me for access to the bonus pool of money but that’s only money, it doesn’t open many opportunities. The biggest thing is the World Ranking points. I’m 80th at present and the points are great over these next few weeks with the event in Hong Kong offering big points as Sergio (Garcia) is competing.”
“So, if I can get my ranking to continue to rise then there is top-64 getting into the WGC – Match-Play and then top-50 opens loads of doors.”
“There is a long way to go before that happens but you see the incentives there to take advantage of.”
But after what will be really only his second full season in the pro ranks Dunne realises the importance of getting his 2018 schedule spot on for fear of ‘burn out’.
“Planning my breaks is going to be so important as last year I ended up going on holidays one week when I thought I wouldn’t get into an event and I did get in and I had to skip it,” he said.
“Mentally more than anything else, even when you don’t practice for a couple of days, you know on Monday afternoon- I might have to go in the morning. This year has been much better. I have taken my time off when I’ve needed it. I practiced when I needed it.”
Joining Dunne this week in Turkey is Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington.
IRISH TEE TIMES
Shane Lowry – 7.55am (Irish)
Padraig Harrington – 5.15am
Paul Dunne – 8.55am