it would be hard to find three more different people than Shane Lowry, Paul Dunne and Seamus Power but all three will be united by a common goal when they begin their US Tour seasons today.
Improving every day and building on last season’s progress is the goal for all three and while West Waterford talent Power will be plying his trade on the Web.com Tour, he’s worked hard over the winter to build on his debut season on the second tier circuit last year.
Power tees it up in the $625,000 Panama Claro Championship in Panama City hoping to make a fast start to the season having struggled to get early momentum last year.
And it will be a similar story for Lowry and Dunne as they tee it up in a stellar field at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
Dunne, who is also playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in a fortnight having failed to secure starts on the European Tour’s Desert Swing, spoke about his hopes for his fledgling career before winning his card last year.
“If I have instant success, great,” he told Bunkered Magazine. "If not, I’m not the sort of person who’s going to live or die by how I play.
"I think that the people who matter most to me will like me either way whether I win or come last. I’m just excited to be getting the opportunity to try and play this game for a living.”
But after battling his way through Q-School and making an excellent start to life on tour by making four cuts made out of five (with a first top 10 in the Joburg Open two weeks ago), the 23-year old Greystones native is clearly comfortable.
His long term goal is clearly the US circuit he’ll be looking to become the first player to win their first PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines for 25 years when he joins Derek Fathauer and Mark Hubbard on the South Course this afternoon.
Dunne hit the headlines last summer when he became the first amateur since 1927 to share the lead of the Open Championship after 54 holes, before eventually finishing 30th at St Andrews.
He went on to gain his European Tour card via the qualifying school in November but is taking advantage of a gap in his schedule to play in the United States, where he attended the same college as former US Open champion Graeme McDowell.
“I’m very excited to make my PGA Tour debut this week and spend a few weeks in California,” said Dunne, who turned professional after helping Great Britain and Ireland to a record Walker Cup win.
“When I was playing in college I was always striving to turn pro and play golf on a professional tour and I was excited to get my European Tour card back in November. And now I have a few weeks off the European Tour, I’m really excited to see what the PGA Tour has to offer.
“Category 16 status on the European Tour is for Q-School graduates, so it doesn’t get you in every event. When I was looking at the schedule I knew I had the first couple of events in South Africa (he finished ninth in the Joburg Open) and then my category wouldn’t get me into the events in the desert swing.
“So I knew I had a good break in tournaments and then we just sought places to play and looked to America. We were lucky enough to get invites over here.
“Obviously the overall goal for me would be to end up on the PGA Tour so any exposure I can get to that early is great.
“In terms of goals for the week, I kind of set my goals at the start of the year to just try and improve every day. Get better each week and let results take care of themselves. So I’m just going to keep working on my game and hopefully I put some good scores together.”
Dunne is joined in La Jolla by Lowry and No 2 Jason Day, who is a doubt for the defence of his title at Torrey Pines after being laid low by a virus.
Day pulled out of the pre-tournament pro-am but hopes to be fit enough today to play the opening round.
New world number four Rickie Fowler is also at Torrey Pines after making the 17-hour journey from Abu Dhabi, having won his second European Tour title on Sunday.
Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose are also competing and after knocking off some early season rust in the EurAsia Cup, Lowry will be hoping to hit the ground running and rack up some early Ryder Cup qualifying points.
Lowry, who starts on the North Course alongside Alex Cjeka and Angel Cabrera, will not be wanting for confidence and if he flags at any stage, he can look back at his win in last season’s WGC-Bridgestone Invational for inspiration.
“That gives me great confidence,” Lowry said last week. “I am walking down the back nine of a big tournament and I see Bubba Watson, Justin Rose and Jim Furyk on the leaderboard trying to chase me down. It’s just something that tells me that if I am in that position again, I know I am able to do it.”