It was double Irish delight for Paul Dunne and Seamus Power with each securing their best PGA Tour results by sharing fifth place in the Corales Puntacana Championship staged in the Dominican Republic.
Both Irishman grabbed easily their highest PGA Tour finish in two years with Dunne signing for a closing three-under par 69 and Power a 71 and with the duo among eight players at 11-under par and just a stroke inside the leading 10 given 10-under shared 13th place.
The top-10 finishers in the $3m event which was won by American Brice Garnett, earned a tee-time in Thursday’s starting $6.9m Houston Open.
Power was already entered into Houston and with Dunne now making it five Irish competing later this week in the Houston Open and with all five having a shot of winning through to next week’s Masters.
The winner of the Houston Open is afforded the very last invitation into the 5h April commencing Masters.
Dunne went into the final day at eight-under par, trailing eight shots off the lead while Power was better-placed at 10 under and got the start he wanted in birding three of his opening four holes to move to 12-under par before a birdie at the eighth hole moved him to 13-under par.
The Greystones man stalled over the next nine holes posting nine straight pars and then dropping his only shot at the last.
Standing on the 18th tee Dunne was sharing fourth place but the bogey, and only the fourth in his four days, saw him finish sharing fifth.
It was then a very anxious wait for the Irishman before confirmation of his top-10 before the assurance of a heading to Houston.
Power, in contrast, produced a see-saw opening nine holes with three birdies and two bogeys, and much like Dunne the West Waterford golfer produced a run of nine closing pars in his score of 71 and also for a 11-under total.
Dunne’s effort, and in his 11th official PGA Tour counting event, is easily his best finish since his T13th in the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open.
And even if Dunne does not win next week to the Masters a strong finish, in what will be his fifth PGA Tour event this year, can only help in securing full 2018/19 Tour membership.
Power will arrive in Houston delighted having secured also his highest place result in 37 PGA Tour events and just a second top-10 after sharing 10th place in last year’s RBC Canadian Open.
Dunne and Power will join fellow Irishmen Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry in America’s fourth largest city and with the same quest and that is to join Rory McIlroy at Augusta National.
Missouri-born Garnett ran away with the title by four shots posting a 70 for an 18-under par tally and his first taste of success on the PGA Tour.
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