Paul Dunne had a dream 2015 season, leading The Open through 54 holes and then following a winning the Walker Cup performance with a successful trip to Q-School.
He's now a fully fledged European Tour card holder but it was his challenge for The Open at St Andrews that really caught the imagination of the general public. The 23-year old Greystones golfer dropped in to RTE on Tuesday to chat with Ray Darcy about his breakout year.
Some of the highlights:
On The Open
"I wouldn't see it as a personal achievement because I didn't finish it off the way I wanted to. But it was an eye-opening experience to see that when I did play well, I could compete."
On thoughts of winning The Open on the final day
"It was on my mind. But it wasn't any more on my mind that it was on Thursday.... People think I bottled it but I really feel that didn't give myself a chance going into the back nine. So once my chance was gone going into the back nine, the adrenaline was gone because I wasn't playing for any of the money. So whether I finished 15th or 30th, it didn't make any difference."
On fitness and nutrition
"It's definitely turning into a more athletic sport. As it develops and the sports science improves, you can see the benefits — golf swings getting faster and people are hitting it further and the stronger you are the easier it is to control your golf swing."
Ambitions of winning on tour
"I am just going to keep concentrating on getting better. That's what my coach in America has emphasised the last few years. If you can just get better every year, the results take care of themselves. Hopefully I go out and win this year or do well. But if not, I am just going to stick to the process of getting better and it will take care of itself over time."
On ways of dealing with pressure
"I do a lot of work on my breathing. I think that is quite important. Even the tempo of your walk. Simple things can have a big impact. If you find yourself walking quicker than you did the previous day then your heart race is going to increase and you are going to feel a little more shaky and nervous over shots. Small things that people wouldn't think of make a big difference."