sport

Dunne secures Open place

Irish amateur Paul Dunne capped a memorable week by securing a place at the Open at Hoylake after coming through final qualifying.

However, his hopes were nearly ended even before his round had begun.

The 21-year-old, studying at the University of Alabama and a member of the victorious European Collegiate team which won the Palmer Cup against the United States opponents at Walton Heath at the weekend, arrived on the first tee at Woburn with just a minute to spare ahead of his opening round.

If the nerve-wracking start had affected him it did not show as he carded back-to-back 67s to post 10 under and claim one of three spots available at each of the four venues hosting qualifying.

"It gave me a bit of a fright. I misjudged the time it would take me to get from the clubhouse out to the 10th tee but fortunately I managed to hit my opening tee shot straight down the middle," said Dunne, from Greystones.

"It has been an incredible couple of days both here and at Walton Heath and it's something I will never forget.

"This is the first time I have ever played in an event like this so I wasn't sure what would be a good score.

"I just decided to press and see what happened and it turned out very well."

European Tour professional Oliver Fisher came second on seven under with Welshman Rhys Enoch winning a three-man play-off at the first hole by chipping in from 25 feet for birdie to claim the final place.

In terms of scoring Sunningdale proved the most testing of the venues with only two players under par.

Matthew Southgate carded an opening 70 before a five-under 64 in the afternoon catapulted him to the top of the leaderboard on four under, one stroke ahead of South Korean 2009 US Amateur champion An Byeong-hun (69-66).

"It's amazing, I must have tried to qualify for the Open 10 times since I got down to scratch as an amateur," said 25-year-old Southgate.

Londoner Chris Rodgers had an agonising wait before securing his Open debut but fortunately he was not left to rue a bogey at his final hole as a one-over total of 139 was enough to earn him third spot.

"It's a dream come true. I can really look forward to Hoylake and see what happens," he said.