Paul Dunne insists that after this season, confinaltesting 30 tournaments in 20 different countries on four continents, there is still enough gas left in the tank for this week’s final event of his season, the USB Hong Kong Open.
Dunne winds-up just his second full year on Tour a week after ending the 2016/17 wraparound European Tour year 13th on the Race to Dubai.
The Greystones golfer banked a whopping Euro 1.7m and in a year capped by victory in the British Masters and also just missing out in a play-off earlier in the season at the Hassan 11 Trophy in Morocco.
This week he’s joined European No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood along with the No. 2 ranked Justin Rose and Masters champion, Sergio Garcia teeing-up on the great old-style Hong Kong course in suburban Fanling.
And while the event is bizarrely the very first event of the 2017/18 Race to Dubai year Dunne is still very much in 2017 mode.
“Yes, I know it’s the first event of the new season but I’m very much in a 2017 frame of mind and looking to end my year on a high note,” he said.
“I’ve still plenty of gas in the tank for this last week while my game still feels good, and I am still very motivated to do well this week on a golf course that I feel suits my game.”
“I played well here last year for the first three rounds and just had a poor final round, so if I can get the pace of the greens I feel as though I can end my year on a successful note.”
Ahead of teeing-up alongside double Hong Kong Open winner, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Dunne was asked what the thought the key to his successful second full season as a pro.
“If I had to single out anything it was my scheduling and even though I will have played 30 events I feel like I got a tremendous start to the first part of my season and this last stretch I felt I got correct in terms of the events I wanted to play,” Dunne said.
“Also, I have to thank my coach, Eric (Eshelman is his college coach from his days at the University of Alabama) along with lots of different people.”
And at the conclusion of what will be his 58th Tour event since turning pro, Dunne will look forward returning home and getting back to some normality after some 11 months traversing the globe.
“I’m looking forward getting back to my own bed and waking-up in the morning and not being too rushed and really just chilling out,” he said.
“Also, it will be about re-charging the batteries for the New Year so I’ll be looking forward to really not doing too much for a few weeks.”
Dunne, and has been the scenario at many events this year, is the only Irishman in the field.
TEE TIMES (Irish Time) …
Paul Dunne – 3.55am (11.55am Hong Kong)