Dawson comfortable in the big time
 Tramore's Robin Dawson in action during the final of the 123rd Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen. Picture courtesy Oonagh Purfield

Tramore's Robin Dawson in action during the final of the 123rd Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen. Picture courtesy Oonagh Purfield

Tramore's Robin Dawson knows he has nothing to fear from the best in the world despite his defeat in the Amateur Championship final at Royal Aberdeen.

The sweet-swinging Waterford star (22) lost 3&2 in the 36-hole final to South Africa’s Jovan Rebula after a marathon week, missing out on dream starts in The Open, the Masters and the US Open.

All is not lost, however, and with his confidence sky high and knows he's got two more chances to tee it up at Carnoustie by winning this week's European Individual Championship in the Netherlands or coming through Final Qualifying for The Open at Prince's on July 3.

He's also still in the running for the Masters and the US Open in 2019 if he can win August's US Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach.

Far from being gutted, he was proud of his run, even if he did have to beat two pals in Kinsale's John Murphy and Portmarnock's Conor Purcell in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.

“I don’t understand why people keep saying to me, ‘Aw, you must be really disappointed'," said world No 35 Dawson who hopes to move into the world's top 20 this week. 

 2018 Amateur champion Jovan Rebula. Picture courtesy Oonagh Purfield

2018 Amateur champion Jovan Rebula. Picture courtesy Oonagh Purfield

"I am absolutely delighted. It was a great tournament and I am just really happy with my game. 

"I played great golf all week. It's great to be contending for one of the top amateur tournaments in the world and it will give me a lot of confidence going forward. 

"Obviously, I am a little bit disappointed not to go the whole way, but I am more content about where my game is at going forward, and I am looking forward to some big tournaments coming up."

If he remains in the top 20 in the world until the autumn, he will be exempt into the Second Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School.

But while he's trying not to look too far ahead, he admits he can't wait to tee it up in the US Amateur at Pebble Beach from August 13-19 and see how his game stacks up.

"That's going to be really special," he said. “I feel comfortable where I am now in the world and feel I belong there I feel like I can go to the US Amateur as more than just another player in the field. 

"I feel I can go and do really well in the tournament and I'm looking forward to testing myself against the players over there."

 Robin Dawson Picture courtesy Oonagh Purfield

Robin Dawson Picture courtesy Oonagh Purfield

He's refusing to beat himself up for coming up short against Rebula but did confess that the big prizes at stake were a distraction at times.

"You have all that rubbish coming into your head but I dealt with it very well and enjoyed every minute of it," he said. "There were great crowds out watching and I just really enjoyed the day. No matter what the outcome, I just really enjoyed it and really enjoyed having my brother Charlie on the bag

"To be honest, I was really tired going out for the second 18 in the final after a long, long week. But I feel fine now. I am just looking forward to next week now. I have two more shots at getting into The Open with the European Individual and Final Qualifying coming up at Prince's which is nice. I played well there last year in the Amateur Championship.

"My game is trending in a nice direction and when we find out the team for the Europeans, I think we will have a really good team for that. We will go there with a really good chance."