Alan Dunbar in action at Augusta NationalDarren Clarke might have “borrowed” Alan Dunbar’s coach Seamus Duffy but the big Dungannon man will take his Portrush neighbour under his wing when he joins the professional ranks next week.

Having signed with the same management group as the 2011 Open champion following his win in last year’s Amateur Championship, 22-year old Dunbar will have Clarke’s advice to rely on as he bids to establish himself on the European Tour this summer.

“Alan has an experienced caddie in Lee Adelly and in time Darren will take him under his wing,” Dunbar’s agent Andrew Chubby Chandler said at Augusta. “The also have the same coach in Seamus Duffy so we have to make sure Alan gets enough time with him because Darren has seconded him.”

Chandler has plenty of experience helping rookie professionals earn their tour spurs with world No 2 Rory McIlroy earning his card on invitations at the end of 2007.

Dunbar, who missed the cut in the Masters, will not be expected to follow in McIlroy’s stellar footsteps and knows that it will take time to gain experience.

“He will play a bit on the main tour and a bit on the Challenge Tour to start,” Chandler said. “We will see how he does on the main tour and if he doesn’t quite cut it, he still has time to get one of top 20 cards on the Challenge tour. That’s the idea. The great thing he is that he knows that it is a long game.”

Dunbar will make his tour debut in the Challenge de Madrid on the second tier tour from April 24.

However, if Chandler has his way, the Rathmore man may not take up an invitation from Jack Nicklaus to play in The Memorial Tournament in June.

“We are talking about the Memorial but what do you achieve?” Chandler asked. “It is a high class field on a difficult golf course. You don’t achieve anything. He is not out for the glory, he is out to earn a card.”

Starts in the dual ranking events in Madeira and St Omer would give Dunbar a chance to earn cash on both tours with the Nordea Masters, the Irish and Austrian Opens also on the agenda.

“I am impressed with him, he’s a nice kid and his swing is much better than I thought it was,” Chandler said. “It’s exciting and he listens.”

As for the timescale Dunbar is looking at the make it as a professional, his agent reckons that his future will be clear within three or four years.

A big summer awaits and opportunity knocks.