Dunne’s driving ambition

Dunne’s driving ambition
Paul Dunne

Paul Dunne

Paul Dunne might have led The Open as an amateur but he knows he must start hitting more fairways if he's to become a major contender on a regular basis.

The Greystones star (25) held a share of the lead going into the final round at St Andrews in 2015 before fading to 30th after a closing 78.

He’s since won on the European Tour, closing with a 61 to beat a charging Rory McIlroy by three strokes in last year's British Masters.

But while he’s now comfortably ensconced in the world’s top 100, he's 263rd out of 271 players on the Europen Tour for accuracy off the tee and that's the biggest barrier to him becoming a contender for golf's biggest prizes.

"Look, for me to be consistently at that level I need to drive the ball better," he said at Carnoustie, where staying out of the fairway bunkers will allow him to take advantage of his superb short game. 

"That’s something I always work on, but I think for me that would be the difference. If I drove the ball consistently better then I’d have more chances to win. 

"The rest of my game is usually consistently good and my good weeks, especially on the greens, are better than most people’s good weeks."

He's aware that hitting every fairway and every green in regulation will be impossible, even for the straightest hitters, on a fast and firm Carnoustie.  But his biggest task is to get comfortable on the tee.

"The fairways are probably quicker than the greens at the minute," he said. "The are a yellowy brown colour, completely baked out and the greens are lush with quite a lot of grass.

"How you flight your tee shots is going to be very important because it is very hard to take bunkers out of play when the fairways are this fast."

The good news for Dunne is that scrambling will be key this week and he's rated one of the best on tour around the greens.

"When things are this firm it is harder to hit fairways especially with the little humps and bumps in them, so you are going to have to scramble," he said.

“I’d say it will be a big factor and that’s something I’m comfortable with and I feel like it’s quite sharp at the minute.”

"I’ve been putting really nicely inside 10 feet, I'm chipping it really well and my bunker play is good. 

“The only thing I need to work on a little bit is my mid-range birdie putting from 20 to 30 feet.”