Northern Ireland’s Dunbar Claims Last-Hole Victory In Amateur
TROON, SCOTLAND | Alan Dunbar became the latest Irishman to pick up one
of the game’s most prestigious trophies
when he won the Amateur championship at Royal Troon. Level at lunch in the
36-hole final, the 23-year-old Dunbar
had a last-hole victory over Austria’s
Matthias Schwab and now has what he
calls “a nice dilemma” on his hands.
Invitations to all three of this year’s
Open, next year’s Masters and the US
Open go with the Amateur title and,
though Dunbar will obviously seize his
invite to play at Lytham, he is not at all
sure about The Masters. He strongly
suspects that if he were to get a full card
at this winter’s European Tour Qualifying
school, he would run with that rather
than hang back to play at Augusta.
Yet, his coach, Seamus Duffy, might
well advise otherwise. In the days leading
up to Troon, Duffy had extracted a light-hearted promise from his player that if
he were to come out on top at Troon he
would take him with him to The Masters.
“That actually got me motivated,”
said Dunbar, a member of last year’s
winning Walker Cup side in Aberdeen. “I
wasn’t just wanting to win for myself.”
Yet, he does not have to decide
about anything overnight. Short term,
there is any amount of excitement –
not just for him but for the Irish golfing
fraternity as a whole – as he prepares
to play in this week’s Irish Open cham-
pionship at Portrush.
“He can expect to be carried on to
the first tee,” advised one of the 40 or
so supporters who came over from
Ireland on the morning ferry.
Alan Dunbar (middle) is applauded after
winning the 117th Amateur Championship.
There were periods on Saturday
when Schwab seemed the more likely
winner. Dunbar was holing some unbelievable putts but he was spending a lot
of time in the rough.
At both the eighth and 10th in the
afternoon, the Ulsterman was hitting
from the banks of mountainous dunes
and, though he saved a heroic half after
finding more trouble at the 11th, he
went 1 down at the 12th. On that occasion, the R&A doctor braved the briers
to collect his ball from the gorse.
Dunbar was still 1 down with two to
play but drew level via a glorious iron to
the green of the short 17th – and was
the surprised victor after his opponent
missed that short putt on the home green.
Two Scots, Paul Ferrier and Jack
McDonald, made off with the bronze
medals and left everyone with the impression that they could both be playing
their part in a Scottish revival on the
professional scene before too long.
No-one complained less about Saturday’s weather than the Indian manager
and his two players. The three suspected that they were marginally better off
shivering in Scotland than facing the 109
degrees which await at home.