Paul Dunne will tee it up at this week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am as he looks to reignite his career on the 2022 Road to Mallorca.
Fancourt Golf Estate will stage the first of seven events co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and will mark the beginning of a season which will feature 30 events across 18 different countries in 2022.
Irishman Dunne won the 2017 British Masters at Close House in England but has since experienced indifferent form which has resulted in finding himself teeing it up in South Africa this week, where he has a spring in his step and is ready to fight for a return to the DP World Tour.
“It’s nice to have a good run here at the start of the year,” Dunne said. “I’m going to play four or five in a row now and get a feel for where things are competitively.
“My goal for the year would be to win a tournament and get back on to the DP World Tour full-time, but right now my category is a bit more half and half, or even more towards Challenge Tour. It’s been an interesting few years for me so I’m just looking forward to getting back on track and trying to play some good golf again.”
Fancourt Golf Estate is home to three courses – Outeniqua, Montagu and the Links – and every player will play one round on each of the three courses, before a cut is made at the end of round three, leaving the remaining players to tee it up in the final round on the Montagu.
The 29-year-old is making his tournament debut and has been impressed by the condition of all three courses, but was quick to acknowledge accuracy off the tee could be crucial to a successful week.
“It’s my first time seeing it but it’s beautiful,” Dunne added. “The Links course is obviously the most challenging off the tee. I played the Montagu yesterday and they all seem like they’re in amazing condition so it’s a good place to be in at this time of year.
“The greens were firm and they’re quite a bit quicker than they are here on the Links. There’s more space off the tee. If you drive it well round any of the courses I feel like you can get a score going if the wind doesn’t pick up but it’s all about driving it well off the tee.
“This is a big tournament, it’s a big tournament on the Sunshine Tour, on the Challenge Tour and it’s the first one of the season so I think everybody has got a little bit of anxiety to see how their game is.
“The Links course is very challenging so it’s good to be able to put it to the test on a difficult course straight away.
“At this stage, you just want a bit of momentum, you want to get off to a good start to carry a bit of form into the next few weeks and then try and put yourself into contention as early as you can in the year. Then you’re setting yourself up to win golf tournaments rather than just scrape through cut-lines. I’ve been at both ends of it over the last six or seven years so I know one is definitely more fun than the other.”
All professionals will be paired with an amateur partner for the event and will compete in the team competition in addition to the professional only tournament. Joining Dunne in this week’s field is defending champion Wilco Nienaber, who captured his maiden professional title at this event last year, and two-time Major winner Retief Goosen.
Dunne will play alongside South Africa’s Callum Mowat, along with their amateur partners, at 11:15am on the Links. South African duo Adriel Poonan and Desne van den Bergh will comprise the first group of the season, teeing off on the Links at 6:30am.