Dunne Upstages Hometown Heroes To Snatch Three-Shot Spanish Open Advantage.

Paul Dunne brilliantly upstaged the hometown favourites to open up a three-stroke leading advantage heading to the weekend rounds of the Spanish Open.

Dunne ended Thursday’s round in brilliant manner with an eagle ‘3’ and he did much the same on day two with a birdie ‘2’ in a round of 65 for a 13-under par tally in continuing cold conditions on the already rain-softened Centro Nacional de Golf course in Madrid.

The reigning British Masters champion, and coming off back-to-back top-10s on the PGA Tour, produced five second round birdies in his opening 10 holes and only to bogey the second hole for a second day running but with Dunne putting that behind him to birdie three in a row from his 14th holes to race to 13-under par.

Dunne then three-putted the 17th for bogey before ending on a positive note with a birdie.

The effort was also Dunne’s lowest 36-hole tally in his short European Tour career.

“It was just one of those days, I just went on playing, I wasn’t really thinking about the score and the score kind of built on itself,” he told Sky Sports afterwards. “It turns out all three of us in the group shot seven under, so it was an enjoyable day.

“My game is in good shape, I’m feeling good, feel confident around this course so hopefully a couple of more good rounds and give myself a chance.

“I was doing a good bit of work about six weeks ago and I saw signs on the course that things were getting better in Mexico, but I didn’t play great. Then couple of weeks practice after that in America and it’s nice to see it transfer on to the golf course.

“So, my game has been trending the right way for a while and then I’ve got a nice run of events here in Europe over the next few weeks as well, so looking forward to that and hopefully just keep doing what I am doing.”

The young Greystones golfer has now recorded an eagle, 14 birdies and just three bogeys as he strives to become the Irish-born winner of the Spanish Open since Peter Lawrie captured the title in 2008 and in the very after his good friend, Damien McGrane had captured the Volvo China Open.

Three players are tied in second place on 10-under par -Spain’s Nacho Elvira (66), Australian Brett Rumford (67) and England’s Callum Shinkwin (67).

Feisty Jon Rahm began his second day quest for a Spanish Open title with an eagle ‘3’ at the first but then posted a double-bogey in finding water guarding the green at the par-4 12th hole and with the World No. 4 clearly not happy with some comments from the crowd and putting his finger to his lips in a gesture he did not want to hear anything from the spectators.

Rahm had been criticised by SKY Sports in not calling ‘fore’ with his wayward drive right at the 12th that landed amid a small group of spectators and coming to rest on a concrete cart path that he was afforded a ‘free’ drop.

However, Rahm did signal to the crowd his tee shot was heading right.

Then in true champion manner, and much to the delight of his grandmother looking on, Rahm bounced back wiht a birdie on the next hole on route to a round of 68 to be sharing fifth place at nine-under par.

And Rahm did speak of his delight competing in the Spanish capital and the sight that greeted him on the opening hole.

“I don’t remember the last time I played a tournament where the first hole is a par five and from the tee all the way to the green there was at least a line of people, and the first hole is not a short hole,” he said.

“It doesn’t happen often, it may happen in Majors – it doesn’t happen at Augusta unless you play with great people – so I can’t help but feel pride and hope that we get more people on the weekend.”



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