Paul Dunne is relishing the opportunity to defend a European Tour title for the first time when the Irishman tees it up at the Sky Sports British Masters at Walton Heath Golf Club, from October 11-14.
The Wicklow player provided a spectacular finish to the event last year as he stormed to a three-shot victory over four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy, chipping in on the last hole for a walk-off birdie, a final round 61 and a memorable maiden triumph.
Dunne came close to a second title earlier this year at the Open de España, where he was the leader heading into the final round, but was usurped by a determined Jon Rahm and finished two shots back of the Spaniard in runner-up spot.
The 25 year old is hoping that the memories of his spectacular win at Close House Golf Club last year will help give him a boost as the business end of the season approaches.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Dunne. “Walton Heath is a great venue and I’ve played there quite a lot. It depends what the weather throws at us but there have been plenty of good scores there in the past in the tournaments I’ve played at, so I know we can get at it.
“It’s always in amazing condition and being so close to London I’m sure there’ll be plenty of Irish represented in the crowds too so hopefully I can do well again.
“Last year, I had a chip and two putts to win and all I was thinking was that if I struck it properly, I could get to within ten feet and I’d have an easy two-putt, but the fact that it went in was just a bonus and it added the icing on the cake for a first win.
“It’s a big event at a great time of the year, coming up just before the end of the season Rolex Series events. With it having a good purse and a good field it makes such a difference no matter what you’re vying for at that stage of the season, whether it’s top 20 or top 60 in the Race to Dubai, or to keep your card, there’s a lot on the line at that time of the year so it should be a great event.”
Dunne will need to overcome a strong field if he is to successfully defend his title at the Surrey venue, with the host – World Number One Justin Rose – joined by reigning Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood and five-time European Tour winner Matt Fitzpatrick, the winner of the 2015 British Masters.
Also confirmed are three-time winner on the European Tour this season, Matt Wallace, and fan favourite Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, with a host of stars still to be confirmed for the event.
Walton Heath has hosted a number of leading events over the years, including The 1981 Ryder Cup, the European Open on five occasions between 1978 and 1991, and The 2011 Senior Open Championship, won by American Russ Cochran.
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