Dunne grinds but it’s a blowout for Shane and Padraig

Dunne grinds but it’s a blowout for Shane and Padraig

Wicklow wonderkid Paul Dunne produced a Harry Houdini style finish to keep his Open chances alive at rock hard Carnoustie.

While Rory McIlroy’s power hitting helped him blast a two-under 69 to keep leader Kevin Kisner in his sights, Dunne was the only other Irish player to match par.

He had to get up and down for pars at the last three holes for his 71 but it was day to forget for the rest as Shane Lowry struggled to a 74 and Padraig Harrington double bogeyed the last for a 76.

Lowry was devastated to shoot three over par and he had to work hard just to keep his chance of making the cut alive after a double bogey six from the middle of the fairway at the 10th completely knocked him for six.

Lowry groaned: “From 104 yards to make double... in a tournament like this it's just such a kick in the you-know-what. You can't really expect to try and compete.

“I felt like I played okay, but made too many mistakes. It’s just not good enough.

“I'm not enjoying my golf at the minute, and my golf is not really enjoying me and that's the way it is, and it's hard to kinda take.”

He was licking his lips as he stood over a 104-yard approach to the 10th but he walked off with a double bogey six after his approach rolled into a swale behind the green and he took four to get down.

He still has a chance to make the cut after getting up and down from bunkers at the 15th and 16th and two putting the 17th from 40 yards but he was in no mood to look on the bright side.

He said: “If I had birdied the last I felt I would have robbed a back nine. I honestly felt that I got off to a good start, I had four lip-outs on the first five holes and from there that's where my day went."

Dunne battled hard for his 71, sandwiching a chip and putt par at the 17th between two incredible sand saves at the 16th and 18th.

He said: "I  am pretty pleased with it, considering where I was the last three holes. 

“I scrambled well to save pars but for the rest of the day I didn’t think there was a whole lot of scrambling, I hit the ball well and gave myself a load of chances for birdie. 

“Through 15 holes I could have been two, three under and even a few lower. 

“I didn’t play the last three well but managed to scramble good pars out of it. I think it is a decent start, the game is a little better than the score, I think. I am driving the ball really well.”

The Greystones ace bogeyed the first but almost drove the par-four second and chipped dead for birdie.

And while he bogeyed the ninth after a poor drive, he birdied the 12th with a nine-iron to two feet and then scrambled well coming home.

Confessing that his biggest challenge is dealing with frustration, he said: “It’s just about moving on when you feel like you get a little bit of a bad break or you do something stupid.”

Harrington was one under after eight holes but he struggled on the greens and bogeyed the ninth, 10th, 12th and 16th before finding the Barry Burn at the 18th to close with a double bogey for a 76.

"Maybe three-putting on 14 just when I needed a birdie. I missed a short one on 16. So, yeah, could have been a level par, 1-over, 2-over day. Five-over is disappointing.

Harrington said: “Things were going nicely for me and then I lost a bit of focus around the turn when the wind changed and then dropped three shots at nine, 10 and 12. 

“So it definitely could have been a day to get around in level par but five over is disappointing. One-under through eight is a nice start. As I said, it was good. 9 and 12, particularly, because I didn't hit nice shots up there, and I made bogey. But that's going to happen on days like that.”