Last week’s tied-13th performance shows two things: 1- Paul Dunne is an incredibly talented golfer in unpredictable weather, and 2- Paul Dunne’s remarkable Open Championship at St. Andrew’s was by no means a fluke.
Looking at his final round, some may see 5-over-par and think , “Ah, the poor young man bottled it again” after fading away on the final day with the 54 hole lead at the Open last July, but the difficulty of Monday’s play at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open cannot be over-exaggerated.
Out of the 71 players who made the cut, one man shot under par for their final round, and that man was eventual champion Brandt Snedeker – who never hit a shot on Monday.
The American was one of the few players to finish their rounds on Sunday before play was halted for the day due to damage to trees on the course, which included a 60-foot eucalyptus tree that fell across the 15th fairway just 40 yards short of the green.
On that day, there was an average of 40 mph winds which saw a peak of over 50 mph at some stages, and spectators were not allowed on the course due to the safety concerns surrounding the weather.
Monday saw a little softer gale of 25 mph, but in the opposite direction, much to the delight of Snedeker who played the last 7 holes with the wind as the field averaged nearly 78 for the final round, the highest for the finishing day on the PGA Tour since records began in 1983.
If this wasn’t enough to prove how impressive Snedeker’s win was, his 6-under overall score was the highest winning score at Torrey Pines since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 and he was the first player in more than five years to make the cut on the number and win the tournament.
(Both to show how tough play was)
Now this must prove how impressive Dunne’s first competitive tournament as a professional on the PGA Tour must be.
He mixed it up with the big guns including Phil Mickleson, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Paul Casey, Justin Rose and compatriot Shane Lowry and he topped all bar the Offaly man who he tied 13th place with.
The PGA Tour is famous for its near-perfect golf courses with warm weather and lack of inconsistencies, but last week’s last day was more similar to the final day at “The Home of Golf” last summer and despite recording a poor-looking 77, he went up 4 places in the leaderboard before he even commenced his concluding 18.
This follows his last sign of excellence back in August when he was defeated in the Quarter Final of the US Amateur by the superb Walker Cup star Bryson DeChambeau, who recently had a positive start to his professional career on the European Tour.
It has come to the time where we all must stand up and take notice of the Wicklow man. He has raised the expectations of the golfing world once again and do not be surprised if he continues to feature among the best in the world in the not-so-distant future.