Paul Dunne continues to struggle for the right answers after grabbing five birdies in a disappointing level par 72 on the opening day of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Dunne was one-under par through 12 holes before playing the next five holes in one-over to trail seven shots behind the leading duo of Spaniard Adrian Ortego and England’s Jordan Smith who shot 66s in very hot conditions on the Jumeirah Estates course.
European No. 1 elect, Francesco Molinari, had joined the lead pair at six-under par after 14 holes but proceeded to bogey the 15th and 18th in a score of a four-under par 68, in the final Rolex Series event of 2018.
Race to Dubai rival Tommy Fleetwood is one shot back of his Italian-born best friend but needs to win the season-closing event to have any chance of denying Molinari the No. 1 crown.
Dunne was pleased with his five birdies, including holing a 50-foot putt for birdie at the par-3 sixth hole which was among just 29
putts in his round, but on the flip side of the coin naturally disappointed to walk off at level for the day.
“I feel I am a little bit lost in my game,” said Dunne. “I don’t have any confidence in it, so five birdies is a positive but the five bogeys is so sloppy.”
“In a way I can be happy that I have made some birdies but turning five under into a level par is not good. I need to find something in the ball striking if I want to have any chance to do well to be honest.”
“I don’t know really what the issue is and that’s the problem. If I knew what it is, I would work on it in practice. I have been struggling for a few months, working on it, trying to find a little click; it’s frustrating when it doesn’t.”
“I haven’t had a good season. I have had a bad season really. I had a good stretch of six weeks and apart from that it has been pretty poor. Normally you could argue that but not for me this week.”
In contrast, Shane Lowry posted 32 putts and was happy to settle for a two-under par 70 of three birdies and just one bogey.
“I felt like I played nicely today with just a couple of loose drives but my iron-play felt good while it seemed like every putt I had over-breaked or lipped-out so I just struggled to hole putts,” he said.
“Overall, I am pretty happy with how things went and it was a nice birdie on 17 and then I was unlucky there at the last.”
“It would have been easy to play my way out of the tournament, especially this one today, so two-under is not a bad start. Patience is a key and when you make a bogey out there it seems very disappointing and you feel you are going backwards. It goes without saying that every tournament you play you have to be patient especially tournaments when the scoring is good.”