Paul Dunne ready to perform in potential Ryder Cup audition
Dunne is playing in his first team event as a professional at this week’s EurAsia Cup
Paul Dunne of Team Europe looks at his phone with his caddie Darren Reynolds during the pro-am prior to the start of the Eurasia Cup at Glenmarie G&CC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
It may not be the Ryder Cup but for Paul Dunne and his European teammates, this week’s EurAsia Cup is the closest they will get to an audition for September’s main event in Paris.
Dunne is playing in his first team event as a professional after a stellar 2017 season which saw him pick up his maiden win at the British Masters, a 16th place finish on the Race to Dubai and total prize money of €1,697,468. Those results were enough to get him into the team for the matchplay competition against Team Asia at Glenmarie Golf Club in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
It presents a major opportunity for Dunne to showcase his matchplay credentials in front of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn who also heads the European team this week.
While the event is a long way from the fervour that will surround September’s clash with the USA, Paul McGinley is among the past captains who point to the competition as providing invaluable experience for both the captain and the players.
Dunne will partner Sweden’s Alex Noren in the morning fourballs on Friday in what is the only pairing that doesn’t include any former Ryder Cup experience.
The two rookies will take on Hideto Tanihara and Phachara Khongwatmai in the third match of the day, teeing off at 1.05am Irish time. Writing in a player blog on the European Tour website, Dunne says he is fully aware of how this week could impact on his chances of booking a place at Le Golf National later this year.
“It’s great to be involved here and I think if anyone said they weren’t thinking about the Ryder Cup, even a little bit, then they would be lying,” he wrote.
“It would be amazing to be in the team for Paris in the autumn but to do that I’m going to have to qualify by having a great year. There is a long way to go. I am very proud of my season last year to get in the team this week, it was a big goal of mine to try to make it. I’ll enjoy wearing the flag this week and hopefully it might end up being the first of many appearances for Europe over the coming years.”
Dunne is currently well-placed in the Ryder Cup standings at seventh in the European points list and sixth in the world points list but there is still a long way to go before the team is finalised. However, his previous matchplay experience at amateur level – which included being part of the 2015 Walker Cup-winning team – should stand to him.
As will a week as part of a team that includes some pretty impressive Ryder Cup records in the likes of Henrik Stenson, 2016 star Thomas Pieters and the returning Paul Casey. Matt Fitzpatrick, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Ross Fisher complete the half of the team to have taken on the US in the past.
The format sees six fourball matches contested on Friday, six foursomes on Saturday and 12 singles matches on Sunday.
EurAsia Cup Friday morning fourballs
12.35am: Tommy Fleetwood/Paul Casey vs Byeong Hun An/Kiradech Aphibarnrat
12.50am: Thomas Pieters/Matt Fitzpatrick vs Yuta Ikeda/Gavin Green
1.05am: Alex Noren/Paul Dunne vs Hideto Tanihara/Phachara Khongwatmai
1.20am: Henrik Stenson/Alex Levy vs Sunghoon Kang/Poom Saksansin
1.35am: Rafa Cabrera Bello/Bernd Wiesberger vs Nicholas Fung/Li Haotong
1.50am: Tyrrell Hatton/Ross Fisher vs Anirban Lahiri/S.S.P Chawrasia
*all times Irish