Amateur Dunne chasing history at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2015, 8:40 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – With a bulky Titleist bag slung over his right shoulder, Alan Murray climbed down the elevated walkway behind the R&A clubhouse and tried to make sense of what had just happened.

There was a lot to absorb.

The head men’s coach at Alabama-Birmingham glanced inside the media tent and noticed that the best player he’s ever coached was on one of the seven projection screens, answering questions from the Open’s TV partners.  

“Look at that,” Murray said, pointing at the screen. “Isn’t it incredible?”

Unbelievable, really.

On the eve of a final round overflowing with storylines, it is Paul Dunne, a 22-year-old Irish amateur, who can author one of the most improbable tales in the game’s long history.

Dunne, who is actually eight months older than world No. 2 Jordan Spieth, is tied for the lead here at the 144th Open Championship.

Spieth’s bid to match Ben Hogan as the only players to win the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open in the same season will garner almost all of the attention Monday, and deservedly so. But Dunne’s position through three rounds here shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed: He’s the first amateur since Jim Simons in 1971, and just the fourth player overall in the modern Grand Slam era, to hold at least a share of the lead at a major.  

“His first-round score [69] was a tremendous achievement, then to back it up and shoot another 69 in the second round was really gutsy, and now to go out there and be leading the tournament, you can’t take that away from him ever,” said Padraig Harrington, the godfather of modern Irish golf. “That is as rare as it comes.”


Full-field scores: 144th Open Championship


And Dunne isn’t even the only amateur in the field with a chance to win Monday: Jordan Niebrugge, a senior at Oklahoma State, is in a tie for sixth, only three shots back.  

“I’m not extremely surprised,” Spieth said. “I think in years to come, you’re going to see more and more of it.”

One of the biggest benefactors of Dustin Johnson’s third-round collapse, Dunne began the day four shots behind. Two hours later, he had grabbed the lead, after going out in 32.  

It seemed like the more the Old Course buzzed, the better Dunne played. His best shot of the day came on the 17th, after a perfect tee shot over the Old Course Hotel sign. He pured a 4-iron around the Road Hole bunker to within 20 feet – a shot so bold that it made Louis Oosthuizen nervous for his own approach. He had picked a completely different line.  

“That second shot was one of the best I’ve seen,” Oosthuizen said.  

“That was outrageous,” Murray said.

Dunne made par on the last three holes to post 12-under 204, a score soon matched by Oosthuizen (67) and Jason Day (67).  

And so now that he’s 18 holes from history, now that he’s on the brink of becoming the first amateur since insurance salesman Johnny Goodman in 1933 to win a major, it’s worth asking:

Can Dunne actually finish this thing off?

“I don’t see why not,” he said.

“He’s there on merit,” Murray said. “He’s hit all the great shots everyone has hit.”  

Hey, Dunne even made a believer out of Oosthuizen, with whom he’ll be paired again in the finale.  

“Absolutely,” he said. “The way he played today, definitely.”

The way he played during his final year at UAB?  Maybe not.   

Dunne had only six rounds in the 60s all season; this week alone he has three.  

His best round during the college season was a 67; on Sunday of the Open, he shot 66, the lowest round ever by an amateur at St. Andrews.  

He's ranked 80th in the world ... amateur rankings. 

“He’s long and he’s strong,” said McDowell, who also attended UAB, “and he looks like he’s got a very complete game.”

Dunne was on Ireland’s men’s national team at a young age and has won at every level. His victory at the Irish Under-18 Boys Championship provided Murray, a fellow Irishman and then the UAB assistant, a glimpse into just how special of a talent he’d landed.  

Last month, Dunne had a chance to win the NCAA Championship in his final college start, but he closed with 73 and finished fifth.  

“He’s got a lot of intangibles,” Murray said. “Huge heart. Very talented. And hates to lose.”  

A few weeks ago, Murray was recruiting in Finland at the European Boys Championship when he received the call that Dunne had qualified for the Open. The timing worked out that he could catch a flight from Finland to Scotland, and together, with only a few tours of the Old Course between them, they went about preparing for the year’s third major.  

It has gone better than Dunne, Murray or anyone else could ever have imagined.  

“It’s surreal I’m leading the Open,” Dunne said, “but I can easily believe that I shot the three scores that I shot. If we 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 in the biggest event in the world.”  

Luck won’t be enough Monday, not when the forecast calls for heavy rain and a steady breeze, and not when major champions Oosthuizen, Spieth, Harrington, Justin Rose, Retief Goosen, Adam Scott and Zach Johnson are all within three shots.

So, yes, a massive stage awaits, but there is the possibility, however slight, that Dunne will channel Bobby Jones and become the first amateur in 85 years to win the Open.

“We’ll find out Monday is the easy answer,” Murray said, “but he’s handled it pretty well so far. That was a different level of intensity out there today. We saw how he handled that, didn’t we?”  

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 2:15 pm

Tiger Woods, in search of his 15th career major championship title, started the weekend six off the lead at Carnoustie. We're tracking him in Round 3 of The Open.


Getty Images

Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

Getty Images

Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.


Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.


Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

Getty Images

How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)