ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – This is heady stuff.
Anytime a name is mentioned with Bobby Jones you must stop and take notice.
Amateur Paul Dunne is tied for the lead of the Open Championship after 54 holes. The 22-year-old, who recently graduated from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, shot a third-round 66 and is tied with Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day. He’s the only player in the field who has shot all three rounds in the 60s (69-69-66), and he did not shoot a round lower than 67 all season for UAB.
The 66 is the lowest round ever by an amateur at an Open at the Old Course and Dunne is the first amateur to lead after three rounds in the Open Championship since Bobby Jones in 1927. Jones was the last amateur to win an Open, in 1930. The last amateur to win any major was Johnny Goodman in the 1933 U.S. Open.
“Yeah, it’s surreal I’m leading the Open, but I can easily believe that I shot the three scores that I shot,” Dunne said. “If I were playing an amateur event here, I wouldn’t be too surprised by the scores I shot. It’s just lucky that it happens to be the biggest event in the world.”
Dunne played the first nine holes (the easier nine all week) in 4-under 32 to quickly move to 10 under. When he made birdie on the par-4 10th hole, he really started to make people notice. He added another birdie on 15 to shoot a bogey-free 66 playing with former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.
“I’m well capable of shooting the scores that I need to win if everyone else doesn’t play their best,” he said. “Whether it happens or not, I can’t really control. I can just go out and try to play my game and see where it leaves me at the end of the day.”
Another amateur, 21-year-old Jordan Niebrugge, is tied for sixth place, three shots off the lead.