Dunhill boosts — Lowry and G-Mac look good; €47k for Dunne, €4.4k for Hurley on debuts

Thorbjørn Olesen. Picture: Getty Images

Ireland’s Paul Dunne, Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell had reasons to be cheerful leaving Scotland as Thorbjørn Olesen held his nerve to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and his third European Tour title.

The Dane came second at this event in 2012 but went one better on Sunday, posting a one under par 71 over the Old Course at St Andrews to finish the week on 18 under par, two shots clear of the American duo of Brooks Koepka and Chris Stroud.

McDowell almost got the win he needs to return to the world’s elite, storming to the turn in five under 31 to get to within two strokes of the lead.

That he bogeyed three of his last four was anecdotal as the first bogey dashed his outside chances. Looking on the bright side, his closing 70 was his eighth successive sub par round since returning from a six-week break and his recent performances show that he’s close to returning to his best with a host of big events still to play this year.

That the Portrush native could finish poorly, putt averagely most of the week and still end up tied for 19th on 12 under par alongside rookie Dunne, who also shot 70, and 67-shooter Lowry, is a positive heading to Woburn for this week’s British Masters.

Dunne will be somewhat disappointed that he had 33 putts on Sunday could pick up just two shots over the weekend on his professional debut.

He needed to finish third to win his card but a cheque for €47,536 will ease some of the pain as he debuts at 201st in the Race to Dubai with two more starts to come over the next two weeks.

"I played pretty solid today for the most part. I wanted to keep the bogeys off the card, so a little bit disappointed with a 3-putt, only bogey of the day," Dunne said. "Apart from that, played really well and had a few putts I thought were going to go in but stayed short or grazed the edge. Could have been a few shots better but overall decent week and hopefully I can get better going into next week."

Asked if he'd checked how much he'd won, he said: "No, I just walked out of the scorer's tent, so I don't even know what position I'm in. I don't know how much money I won but I need to win a hell of a lot over the next few weeks to get my card.

"So hopefully I can win as much as possible. I'm not worried about the money. It's not something that motivates me. It's just a means to get a card. The card is the main thing for me, so if I have to get it through these weeks or Tour School, hopefully I can get one by the end of the year by time will tell."


World No 21 Lowry started the tournament with a rusty 74 at Carnoustie but then made 18 birdies and just four bogeys in his next three rounds.

Thorbjørn Olesen with the trophy. Picture: Getty

His final round 67 was bogey free thanks to six scrambles from six and he will be a dangerous man at Woburn and looking to get a second win before the end of his best ever season.

Olesen, who is a stablemate of Garu Hurley’s at Hambric, was struggling to keep his card this year but moved up 99 places 25th in the Race to Dubai after he picked up a cheque for €708,171. 

The Dane began his final round with a three-shot lead over the chasing pack, but followed a birdie from eight feet on the first with a double bogey on the second and a bogey at the next to surrender the outright lead.

He bounced back in style, however, picking up shots at the fourth and fifth holes to return to the top of the leaderboard. 

After safely parring the next nine holes, he extended his advantage to two strokes with a brilliant birdie from 50 feet at the 15th.

He then parred the notorious 17th to set up a victory stroll down the 18th – one of golf’s most iconic holes – before collecting a cheque that puts him back into the top 75 in the world and top of European Ryder Cup Points List. 

Englishman Chris Wood closed with a bogey-free 65 to finish a shot further back alongside Benjamin Hebert, Bernd Wiesberger, Joakim Lagergren and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

“It feels unbelievable,” Olesen said. "It's been a very tough year and standing here with this trophy is unbelievable. To win over these three golf courses and finishing off especially on St. Andrews is a great feeling.

“I got too aggressive on the second hole, hit a great drive down there and felt like I had a good yardage, but was just too aggressive, and as soon as you get too aggressive on a links golf course, you get punished. So I just kept myself together and knew that I have tried it before. So stayed very patient.

Michael Ballack and German professional partner Florian Fritsch. Picture: Getty

“Winning after the year I have makes this more personal, and like I said before, very emotional, walking down the 18th at the Old Course to win a tournament. 

It's been a very tough season for me, and I would like to give a special thanks to my coach's family and friends, and anyone who has been there. I kept believing. 

I shot a lot of good rounds actually but I couldn't manage to keep it together. It was nice this week just to play three great rounds of golf the first three and kept it together in this last round.”

As for the Pro-Am, soccer legend Michael Ballack only met his fellow German professional partner Florian Fritsch ten minutes before they teed off together at the start of the 15th Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Four days later, they were celebrating a one-shot win over Wood and Mark Madden on 40 under par.

Gary Hurley also earned his first cheque as a professional despite missing the cut. He was 20th in the Pro-Am with rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll, earning $5,000 (€4,400).

Final Scores

270 T Olesen (Den) 68 66 65 71, 

272 C Stroud (USA) 68 66 70 68, B Koepka (USA) 72 69 64 67, 

273 C Wood (Eng) 71 72 65 65, B Wiesberger (Aut) 70 68 69 66, J Lagergren (Swe) 71 71 62 69, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 75 63 66 69, B Hebert (Fra) 69 67 67 70, 

274 D Horsey (Eng) 72 70 64 68, D Drysdale (Sco) 68 72 66 68, S Cink (USA) 73 65 69 67, S Kjeldsen (Den) 65 72 69 68, 

275 J Morrison (Eng) 67 70 70 68, T Fleetwood (Eng) 70 71 67 67, F Aguilar (Chi) 67 73 67 68, P Hanson (Swe) 70 72 66 67, B Dredge (Wal) 73 63 68 71, J Donaldson (Wal) 69 65 71 70, 

276 G McDowell (Nir) 68 69 69 70, S Gallacher (Sco) 67 72 68 69, F Fritsch (Ger) 68 70 64 74, P Dunne (Irl) 64 70 72 70, B Evans (Eng) 70 72 65 69, N Holman (Aus) 68 68 72 68, A Wall (Eng) 65 68 73 70, S Lowry (Irl) 74 69 66 67, 

277 N Dougherty (Eng) 72 67 70 68, E Els (RSA) 72 67 66 72, S Piercy (USA) 69 69 68 71, 

278 J Mullen (Eng) 64 69 74 71, J Walters (RSA) 72 69 68 69, B Grace (RSA) 73 64 68 73, 

279 C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 72 65 71 71, G Storm (Eng) 69 68 68 74, S Jamieson (Sco) 72 68 69 70, O Fisher (Eng) 70 72 66 71, R Wattel (Fra) 70 70 69 70, 

280 M Carlsson (Swe) 70 72 67 71, S Hansen (Den) 71 69 70 70, M Warren (Sco) 68 69 71 72, K Broberg (Swe) 64 74 70 72, M Nixon (Eng) 72 72 63 73, 

281 V Dubuisson (Fra) 74 68 67 72, M Ilonen (Fin) 71 67 69 74, A Cañizares (Esp) 69 67 70 75, Y Yang (Kor) 72 68 70 71, J Randhawa (Ind) 70 69 71 71, 

282 E Espana (Fra) 73 68 68 73, G Bourdy (Fra) 71 70 69 72, A Otaegui (Esp) 68 70 70 74, J Kruger (RSA) 73 68 69 72, 

283 D Lingmerth (Swe) 71 66 73 73, F Zanotti (Par) 67 75 66 75, D Willett (Eng) 74 68 68 73, R Finch (Eng) 69 73 67 74, 

284 M Kaymer (Ger) 68 68 74 74, 

285 R Dinwiddie (Eng) 71 69 68 77, N Colsaerts (Bel) 73 70 67 75, 

287 N Cullen (Aus) 70 73 67 77, G Stal (Fra) 69 73 68 77, 

288 D Van Tonder (RSA) 69 70 71 78.