Dunbar ready for the Challenge on pro debut

4/23/2013 6:03:00 PM
Alan Dunbar (Jos Linckens) ()
Alan Dunbar (Jos Linckens) ()
Alan Dunbar is still buzzing from his Masters Tournament experience two weeks ago, so he could not be in a better mood as the Northern Irishman makes his professional debut at the Challenge de Madrid this week.

The 2012 Amateur Champion made the decision to join the paid ranks earlier this week and will make his bow at El Encín Golf Hotel in Madrid as the Challenge Tour touches down on European soil for the first time this season.

Dunbar will be hoping the follow in the footsteps of fellow former Amateur Open winners Sergio Garcia (1998), Michael Hoey (2001) and Matteo Manassero (2009) by climbing to the highest echelons of the game.

His professional journey begins in Spain this week and, just two weeks after fulfilling a childhood dream of playing at Augusta National, he is thoroughly looking forward to the experience of taking on some of the best young pros in Europe, and the world, on the Challenge Tour.

"The Masters was such a great week,” said the 22 year old. “My scores did not go well but I played all right, the greens just killed me. I guess I need to get experience out there. It was a great week and the week before it was too. It is a very nice way to end an amateur career.

“I had a practice round with Graeme McDowell and that was a great experience. He helped me with the greens but I guess it was not enough help!

“Now that I am playing my first event as a pro, I am really looking forward to it. I’m just trying to keep playing the same way and getting better along the way and hopefully I can reach the top level. I have been working hard trying to progress my game.”

The tough greens at El Encín Golf Hotel are certainly making an impression on the players in Madrid this week but Dunbar is not going to be fazed by the challenge and is just keen to get going on his professional career.

“I have already played a practice round at El Encin and it is a good course,” he said. “The fairways are fine and I think it is a fair course.

“I don’t think I will be doing anything different in terms of course management or preparation. I’ll keep doing what I have always done and try to enjoy playing golf.”