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Dunbar plays it cute at The Fox Club

Alan Dunbar will be working hard this winter.Alan Dunbar will tee it up in the Masters in April and barring a run of red-hot form he could also remain amateur and take up his invitation to play in the US Open as well.

According to a spokesman for his management company ISM, the Rathmore star and reigning British Amateur champion will be honing his game for 2013 at The Fox Club in south Florida, which was designed by Darren Clarke and its current managing partner, former Walker Cup player Eoghan O’Connell.

Dunbar signed with Chubby Chandler’s ISM group under the new rules of amateur status following his Amateur Championship victory at Royal Troon in June.

That win earned him exemptions for the 2012 Open and next year’s Masters and US Open providing he maintained his amateur status.

So far, he’s avoided the temptation to play for pay but he’s also suffered some setbacks.

After missing the cut in The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes in July, he came through the First Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School, he was unable to help his Ireland team mates Kevin Phelan and Gavin Moynihan in the World Amateur Team Championship in September after being struck down by a virus shortly after his arrival in Turkey.

His illness also affected his preparations for Stage Two of the Q-School in Spain, where he finished last in his qualifier.

The plan now is to see how his form develops before making any commitment to taking up his exemption for the US Open at Merion in Pennsylvania from June 13-16.

If he is in the form of his life, he may well decide to take advantage, turn professional and try and earn his card through a maximum of seven European Tour invitations. 

The Portrush native, who will not be 23 until 30 April , certainly won’t be stuck for advice from stablemates like Clarke and Lee Westwood or manager Chandler.

A betting man might be tempted to put money on him joining the professional ranks in the Irish Open at Carton House from June 27-30.