Dunne’s getting back to business

Ashley Chesters, Nigel Edwards, Paul Dunne and Ben Taylor, who played in The Open
Ashley Chesters, Nigel Edwards, Paul Dunne and Ben Taylor, who played in The Open
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Irish amateur Paul Dunne, who caused a sensation with his heroics in The Open Championship, was back to golfing business in Lancashire almost straightaway.

Less than 24 hours after the Open concluded at St Andrews in Scotland, he had journeyed to Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club for a final squad training session with fellow hopefuls before the Walker Cup squad is finalised.

The Walker Cup takes place at Lytham in early September when the Great Britain and Ireland team bid to take amateur golf’s most famous trophy from holders the United States.

It is the first visit of the historic competition to Lancashire since it was played at Royal Birkdale in 1951.

Dunne, together with another Open success story – Englishman Ashley Chesters – played two rounds of Lytham in front of Walker Cup selectors. He will turn professional later this year after taking the 144th Open Championship by storm and may well keep his amateur status so he can compete in the Walker Cup.

Dunne began the final round at St Andrews in a share of the lead, looking to become the first golfer from the unpaid ranks to win the Claret Jug since Bobby Jones in 1930.

A six-over 78 saw him drop down the leaderboard to such an extent he did not even win the silver medal for top amateur but after the Walker Cup, Dunne will make the step up to pro.

“Certainly once the Walker Cup is over – whether he’s selected or not, he’s certainly going to have a go at turning professional,” his father Colum told Irish television.

Dunne finished tied for 30th place in The Open, while Chesters had a share of 12th place.

Great Britain and Ireland captain Nigel Edwards, casting his eye over all the Walker Cup squad at Lytham, said: “I was delighted to see some of our squad members performing so well in The Open.

“That experience on the major championship stage will be extremely valuable for them and highlights the very high standard of golf in the amateur game.

“The Walker Cup at Royal Lytham and St Annes will be a tremendous showcase for amateur golf and I’m sure it will attract golf fans from across the North West.”

The GB&I side will be looking to win back the Walker Cup after the USA’s convincing 17-9 victory in the 2013 match at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, New York.

Notable players that have competed in the Walker Cup include the 2015 Masters and US Open Champion Jordan Spieth, of the USA – who won both of his singles matches at the 2011 Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen – and world No.1 and 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, who played in the 2007 match at Royal County Down.

Other past Walker Cup players include Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Padraig Harrington.

The playing format at The Walker Cup, on each day of competition, is four morning foursome matches, followed by afternoon singles matches.

On Saturday, there will be eight singles matches, and on Sunday all 10 players from each side will feature in the afternoon.

Daily tickets for 45th staging of the cup on (September 12-13) are priced at £30 for adults with juniors (under 16) admitted free when accompanied by an adult.