Paul Dunne is relishing his return to the site of his maiden European Tour victory as he makes his first start since undergoing wrist surgery last November.
The 27 year old Irishman was forced to withdraw from the Final Stage of European Tour Qualifying School last year after injuring his wrist during practice at home, and admitted that the timing of the Tour’s full return has worked well for him.
“This probably would have been one of my first weeks back anyway,” said Dunne, who finished last season ranked 124th in the Race to Dubai.
“I had surgery back in November and I’ve been injured so the timing has worked out well for me. I wouldn’t have been able to play up until now so in that respect nothing has changed much with my plans.”
The former British Masters champion provided a moment of magic the last time the tournament was staged at Close House in 2017, chipping in for birdie at the last for a final round 61 as he held off a late charge to defeat Rory McIlroy by three.
He returns this week with a lot of good memories, and a confident knowledge of how to play the golf course.
“Obviously when everything got cancelled, for this tournament to be one of the ones to go ahead was good news for me because obviously I’ve got good memories here and I’m ready to get going after a long lay-off.
“The course is playing a lot different but I am still looking at different shots that I hit in different places in 2017 and it brings back some good feels and some good memories.
“It’s one of those things, I know how to play the golf course, there’s not as much figuring it out in the practice rounds and I can come here a little more relaxed. I know we’re playing it in a different order but it’s the same golf course. Hopefully the rain stays away, you can never tell in these parts of the world.”
Dunne is hopeful that good performances over the next few weeks of the UK Swing will help him secure an exemption for the rescheduled U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club on September 17-20, a reward reserved for the top 10 aggregate point earners in the mini Order of Merit (that aren’t already exempt) at the conclusion of the fifth event – the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.
“Obviously the aim in these next five events is to try and get a spot in the U.S. Open and try get into those final events but I’m just happy to be back out playing again, like everyone is, rather than being stuck inside."