Dunne breaks course record at Princes with stunning 65 in British Amateur Championship

East of Ireland champion one of six Irish players to make it into the strokeplay stages

Paul Dunne: broke the course record at Princes as he secured a place in matchplay stages of the British Amateur Championship. Photograph: Pat Cashman.

Paul Dunne: broke the course record at Princes as he secured a place in matchplay stages of the British Amateur Championship. Photograph: Pat Cashman.


Irish star Paul Dunne blasted his way to a new course at Princes on the Kent coast yesterday to sweep up the leaderboard in the second qualifying round of the Amateur Championship and grab a place among the seeds for the knock-out phase.

The 20-year-old Greystones player who lost in the final of the Irish Close championship a week ago fired a stunning seven under par 65 in much calmer conditions than those of Monday for a 36-hole total of 142.

Whereas his first round card at Royal Cinque Ports contained two double bogeys and three bogeys Dunne did not drop a stroke on any hole yesterday and compiled halves of 33 and 32.

His first birdie came at the fourthwhere he canned a brilliant 40-foot putt and picked up another stroke at the sixth after pitching to four feet and rolling in the putt and sank an eight-footer for a birdie three at the ninth to complete an excellent outward half.

A 25-foot putt went in at the 13th for a fourth birdie and the highlight of his round was an eagle three on the 505-yard 15th when he slotted a 20-foot putt after a drive and a five iron. Needing a birdie three at the last to break the existing record by a stroke Dunne duly obliged courtesy of a seven iron to within three feet of the stick.

“I have been playing quite well recently. Yesterday I just struggled in the wind so I knew if I got a decent day I could shoot a low number. I did not think I would shoot a 65 but I thought if I came out and stayed patient I would pick up a few birdies along the way and hopefully get in for the match-play so its a case of job done I suppose,”said Dunne.

Young star Jack Hume of Rathsallagh qualified with plenty to spare after a solid 72 yesterday for 143.

He parred the first 13 holes at Princes before dropping a stroke. He had back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 but finished with a bogey five – nevertheless pars at both qualifying courses is no mean achievement.

Cormac Sharvin, the shock winner last week of the Irish Championship beating Dunne in the final, was delighted to qualify for the knock-out phase at his first attempt following a splendid 73 yesterday at Royal Cinque Ports to add to his 72 at Princes on Monday.

Sharvin,a 20-year-old Stirling University player from Ardglass started well wedging to four feet at the opening hole and he went two under par at the fourth where he wedged to 15 feet on his way to the turn in 35.

He found the inward stretch more difficult dropping a stroke at the 12th after a wayward tee shot and then losing a ball at the 13th and taking a double bogey six before missing a four footer at the 15th. He finished well however with a birdie three at the last courtesy of a 15 foot putt after a solid three iron.

Aaron Kearney from Castlerock produced an inspired performance to post a 71 at Princes for a 144 total while Stackstown’s Richard Bridges also made it into the match-play phase with an excellent aggregate of 146 after two rounds of 73.

And right at the end of the day Royal Portrush battler Mathhew McAlpine who seemed destined to miss out after a 79 on Monday returned a brilliant 69 – a birdie three at the 17th was crucial – at Deal for 147 to squeeze in on the cut-off mark, making it a total of six Irish qualifiers.

A big disappointment was the slump in form of Lucan’s former East of Ireland champion Richard O’Donovan who followed up his splendid 70 of Monday at Princes with a disastrous 80 yesterday at Royal Cinque Ports to crash out of the championship on 150.

He lost a ball in the rough on the 418-yard 13th on his way to a triple bogey seven as he compiled level halves of 40.

Rory McNamara from Headfort who has been fighting a stomach bug in the last few weeks and Mourne’s Reeve Whitson narrowly failed to make it missing out by a stroke after posting scores of 148.

Also disappointed was Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy who slumped to a 151 aggregate and among others to bow out were Gary Hurley,Andrew Hogan and Chris Selfridge.

The qualifiers were led jointly by England international Craig Hinton and Adrian Meronk of Poland who both carded an aggregate of 140 for their two rounds.