Fleetwood reigns in Paris as Paul Dunne closes with 65
However, Greystones golfer didn’t manage to book a place at the Open Championship
Tommy Fleetwood of England plays his second shot on the 18th during day four of the HNA Open de France at Le Golf National Paris, France. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
The hole must have looked like a bucket to Paul Dunne as enjoyed a birdie fest, thanks largely to a superb putting performance, in his final round at the Open de France on Sunday as Tommy Fleetwood closed with a 66 to take the title.
Dunne’s round of 65 – which included just 23 putts – saw him finish tied-13th and clock up some valuable world ranking points; however, he still needs at least a top 10 finish at next week’s Irish Open or the Scottish Open the following week if he is to book a place at The Open Championship in Birkdale, after opting not to play in sectional qualifying.
This week’s event, as well as the Irish and the Scottish, offer Open exemptions for the top three players in the top 10 not already in the field. Peter Uihlein, Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Alexander Bjork booked their tickets to the west coast of England with their finishes in Paris on Sunday.
Dunne started strongly with birdies at the second and third before dropping a shot at the fourth.
However, he steadied the ship with four consecutive pars before picking up birdies at the ninth, 12th and 13th.
A bogey at the par five 14th was the only real blemish on the 24-year-old’s card and it was quickly put to bed with birdies at the 16th, 17th and the 471-yard par four 18th on a day when the putter was red hot.
With nine one putts, seven two putts and two chip-ins Dunne was deadly on and around the greens and will hope to take that scintillating form on the putting surface into the Irish Open at Portstewart – beginning on Thursday. If he can manage to do that he will be well in line to secure that Open Championship spot and possibly recreate the heroics of 2015 which saw him lead the championship going into the final round while he was still an amateur.
But it was Fleetwood’s day in Paris as he captured his second title of the season after claiming the Abu Dhabi Championship in January.
The 26-year-old from Southport – who will enjoy a home Open in two weeks’ time after growing up just down the road from Birkdale and regularly sneaking onto the famed links to play – closed with a 66 to pip third round leader Peter Uihlein to the title and the winner’s cheque of €1,040,824 in the second of this season’s Rolex Series.
The win moves him to the top of the Race to Dubai standings and caps a strong run of form with a victory and a move inside the top 20 in the world rankings.
Fleetwood entered the day a shot off the lead but when he put his tee-shot on the par three second within a roll of a hole-in-one, he took a position in top spot that he would not relinquish.
Further birdies at the third, ninth, 13th and 14th, on a scorecard free of bogeys, saw him sign for a 66 after holding his nerve to sink a six foot par putt on the last.
In the group behind Uihlein needed to channel his inner Jordan Spieth and hole out from a greenside bunker to force a playoff but couldn’t do so and the title was Fleetwood’s.