Dunne living the dream

Greystones amateur Paul Dunne is so tired he might think he’s seeing things. 

But the reality is that he did indeed play with world No 1 Adam Scott on Monday and with Shane Lowry and US Open champion Graeme McDowell yesterday as he prepares to chase his Silver Medal dream in The Open. Later in the day, he hit balls on the range beside Tiger Woods.

The 21-year old must make the cut and beat the other three amateurs in action if he’s to follow in the footsteps of Rory McIlroy, who claimed the leading amateur prize in 2007.

His caddie would normally keep his feet on the ground but this week it’s his dad Colum ("Collie") and even the head of the family — a man who once played outhalf for a Connacht side that beat mighty Munster in Thomond Park — is just as starstruck.

“It's ridiculous,” said Dunne Snr of their first two magical days at Hoylake. “It's actually a little bit surreal.

“I played with Connacht for a couple of years and we beat Munster down in Thomond once, but this is something very, very special. 

“To have Adam Scott walk onto the first tee the other day, was special too.”

Dunne brilliantly qualified for the Open by winning his qualifier at Woburn.

But while he’s playing his ninth event in a row and running on empty, adrenaline could keep him going.

Dunne said: “Playing with Adam yesterday was probably the best thing that could have happened, dropped me in at the deep end. 

“And Graeme gave me a bit of advice today at the end and told me to stay patient during the week and enjoy it. 

“That’s what my plan was for the week anyway, just to enjoy it. 

“Every experience is a good experience if you learn from it so matter what happens, it will be a good week to look back on and learn from for the future.

“I am not here to play badly, just take it as any other week and try and shoot the lowest score I can.”

Making the cut is his first goal, as his dad explained.

“He's got his target and he'll go for it,” said Dunne Snr. “He's just like all the other players here.”