• Paul Dunne says it's 'surreal' to have a share of the Open lead
• The Irish amateur carded a five-under 67 to get to 12-under
• Believes there's no reason why he can't go on to lift Claret Jug
PAUL DUNNE | THE OPEN
Amateur Paul Dunne has said it’s ‘surreal’ to have a share of the lead going into the final day of the Open and says he doesn’t see any reason why he can’t go on to lift the Claret Jug – and also the Silver Medal.
After starting the day four shots behind overnight leader Dustin Johnson, by the tenth hole the Irishman had the solo lead on 11-under-par before notching another birdie on the 15th to finish alongside Louis Oosthuizen and Jason Day at the top of the leaderboard.
“It felt like I had so much support from the crowd today and I felt like I was at home,” explained a jubilant Paul Dunne. “Every shot I hit was getting cheered from start to finish and they kept me lifted the whole way through.
"It’s surreal that I’m leading the Open" - Paul Dunne
“It’s surreal that I’m leading the Open but I can easily believe that I shot the three scores that I did. If we were playing an amateur event here, I wouldn’t be too surprised by my score. Hopefully I can do it again, but whether I do or not, you know, I’ll survive either way.”
Dunne referred to playing partner Oosthuizen as ‘a great role model’ to him after the pair had moved themselves to the summit of the leaderboard, and the South African responded with admiration for the 22-year-old.
“He’s played unbelievable,” said Oosthuizen. “That second shot on 17 was one of the best I’ve seen. He made me so nervous on my second shot because I was going a completely different route. But it was an amazing shot and he deserved to birdie it.
“Everyone within three-four shots has a chance but the way he played today, absolutely he can win.”
That view was echoed by Jordan Spieth, who said he wasn’t surprised that an amateur was leading the tournament and believes one could win a major within the next decade.
“I’m not extremely surprised and in the years to come we’re going to see more and more of it,” said the American. “The amateur game has changed to be more like the professional game as there are more tournaments, better golf courses and better competition.
"Amateur golf in the world is getting so more diverse and intense" - Jordan Spieth
“There will be an amateur that wins a PGA Tour event, or possibly even a major, in the next decade or so. Just because amateur golf in the world is getting so more diverse and intense and it’s awesome to see guys stepping up and doing this.”
But the race for the Silver Medal at the Home of Golf this week isn’t done and dusted yet. Five made the cut and all are under par, with Jordan Niebrugge just three shots back on nine-under, Ashley Chesters on six-under and Romain Langasque and Ollie Schneiderjans both on four-under.
Speaking after his round, Niebrugge, who is in a tie for sixth, said: “I’ve been playing well and giving myself a lot of opportunities so we’ll see where tomorrow takes me. I’m just focusing on my own game. Obviously Paul has been playing really well and it’s cool to see a lot of amateurs up there so hopefully we can keep it going.
Meanwhile, Chesters, who shot a five-under-par 67, said: “I just want to play as well as I can and see what happens. If I play well, I’ll be happy, and if I win the Silver Medal, even better.”
Paul Dunne :: Can he win the Open?
Does Paul Dunne stand a chance of lifting the Claret Jug tomorrow night? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.