Robin Dawson grasps his opportunity with a fine 64
Late Irish Open call-up finished one stroke inside cut before surging up leaderboard
Robin Dawson made a fine 64 at Lahinch on Saturday. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty
Talk about grabbing your opportunity with both hands. Robin Dawson, the last man into the field for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, and who only survived the cut on the mark, leapfrogged up the leaderboard with a third round 64 that moved him from fringe player into a main character in the drama on the Co Clare links.
The 23-year-old Waterford player, just nine months into his professional career, was originally due to be playing a Challenge Tour event this week - with a purse of €200,000 - until a potential career-changing ‘phone call, as he prepared to take a flight from Rome to Senica, informed him of his late call-up into the €6 million tournament that is part of the elite Rolex Series on the European Tour.
Dawson earned his place in the field after Gavin Moynihan booked his place in the tournament through his tour category. And Dawson has made the most of what he called his “little break,” as he holed a 15 footer for birdie on the 18th green in Friday’s second round to ensure surviving the cut and then followed up with a brilliant bogey-free 64 in the rain in Saturday’s third round, jumping up 50 places to tied-third by the time he finished.
“I had my flight booked onto Slovakia for the next Challenge Tour event, I was pretty happy to leave that one go. Rang Gavin to see if he got in automatically because I knew the next Team Ireland invite, I was next on the list so I knew it would go back to me. You need those little breaks as well, everybody has got them,” he explained of the circumstances which led to him playing here.
Dawson - an equine business graduate of NUI Maynooth, who was runner-up in last year’s British Amateur and European Strokeplay championships prior to turning professional - has been playing primarily on the Challenge Tour this season but has taken his chance to compete on the big stage.
“I’m really happy with where my game is at, I’ve been working hard the last few months and it is nice to see the results pay off,” said Dawson, who answered a five o’clock alarm call for his early start.
Apart from the tournament title itself, Dawson has put himself in the frame to potentially earn a place in the field for the British Open at Royal Portrush and also the prospect of getting into next week’s Scottish Open if he finishes in the top-10.
But he was intent on pushing such thoughts to the back of his mind. “I am kind of just happy to keep playing golf. All that stuff looks after itself, if you start looking into that the golf goes by the wayside. If I keep doing what I am doing I will be fine. It is nice to be back on links greens because it has been a bit tricky on different types of grasses and the travel. I don’t mind the travel but it is grains and stuff like that, definitely nice to be back on links greens again.”