Paul Dunne cruises into US Amateur quarter-finals
Irish star claims second 3&2 win of the day to set up clash with Bryson DeChambeau
Ireland’s Paul Dunne is through to the quarter-finas at the US Amateur Championships at Olympia Fields in Chicago. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Paul Dunne insisted he wasn’t surprised as he cruised into the quarter-finals of the US Amateur Championship in Chicago last night.
The 22-year old, who rose to worldwide fame in July when he led the British Open going into the final round, eased to a 3 and 2 win over 17-year old American Caleb Proveaux in winds gusting over 20mph before ousting Colorado’s David Oraee by the same score in the last 16 in the afternoon.
The Co Wicklow man, who drove the ball well and controlled his ball flight superbly, now faces a tough quarter-final against a player he is likely to meet in next month’s Walker Cup at Royal Lytham – NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau.
The best Irish performance came in 1961 when the legendary Joe Carr played at Pebble Beach and reached the semi-finals, losing to Dudley Wysong.
Jack Nicklaus defeated Wysong in the final and when Carr got back to Ireland, he penned a newspaper article in which he described Nicklaus as “the best player the world will ever see.”
Never looked back
“I am driving it well and I am driving it long as well,” said Dunne, whose 300 yard drive into the wind at the tough ninth had caddie and Irish team-mate Gary Hurley grinning and shaking his head.
“I’m hitting it long and straight and missing in the right spots, which means I am giving myself shots into every hole. It’s about picking the right shots and the right targets.”
He was down early against Oraee, but holed huge putts at the third and fourth to go one up but then drove into a hazard at the fifth for the second match running to be taken back to all square.
He then won the sixth and eighth in par to go two up and while Oraee saved a half with a 15 footer at the ninth and got back to one down by chipping in at the 13th, Dunne was implacable.
He won the 14th with a birdie and 15th in par to go three up and closed out the win with another solid par at the 16th
“While I hit a few loose shots, I hit a lot exactly where I was aiming and my short game was good,” Dunne said. “He was a good player and got a good break on 13 with his chip. But I made a good birdie on 14 and closed it out.
“Am I surprised to be where I am? No, not really. I had the game to play well. It was just a matter of doing it at the right time. The game feels good, hopefully I can play well tomorrow and keep the ball rolling.
“I am just trying to take it one step at a time.”