It’s the second year in a row the 22-year-old has topped the qualifiers over the Marquess Course at Woburn, adding a 65 to his opening 70 to take top spot by three shots on nine under from Robert Dinwiddie and by four from Retief Goosen, who had to playoff for the last spot.
After missing the cut by two shots at Hoylake last year, Dunne reckons he’ll be better able to handle the demands on a major when he joins Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Shane Lowry, Pádraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell at the Old Course from July 16-19.
“I think I will feel a little more comfortable in situations this time,” said Dunne, who shot a 74 in his lone competitive round over the Old Course in last year’s St Andrews Links Trophy.
“I have more experience playing in front of crowds and the NCAAS was a good experience for me playing in front of the TV cameras. Hopefully it will pay off at St Andrews.”
Dunne was one of 10 Irish players at four final qualifying venues battling for a total of 12 places, with five of them going to amateurs.
Mount Juliet’s Kevin Phelan (70-71) missed out on a three-way playoff for the last two places at Gailes Links in Scotland by one stroke on one under par, where Castle amateur Alex Gleeson led the field after a morning 67 only to fade to tied 13th after a 77.
Clontarf’s Eamonn Brady missed out by three strokes at Hillside, finishing tied sixth on level par as Ruaidhri McGee and amateur Gavin Moynihan retired after opening rounds of 76 and 78 respectively.
Lucan’s Richard O’Donovan and Portmarnock amateur Geoff Lenehan came up well short at Royal Cinque Ports leaving Dunne to claim the glory for the second year running.
Meanwhile a US Sports programme alleges golfer Phil Mickelson wired nearly $3m (€2.7m) to a man for the purpose of “illegal sports betting”.
According to unnamed sources and documents reviewed by ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Mickelson was involved in the money transfer that went to an intermediary who was part of an illegal gambling operation.
The sports network reports that Mickelson’s money was laundered by Gregory Silveira, a 56-year-old former sports betting handicapper working for an off-shore gambling operation. ESPN said Silveira reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice and pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering of funds from an unnamed gambling client between 2010 and 2013.
Mickelson is not expected to face any charges connected to the incident and has not commented on the report which alleges he was involved in the money laundering and gambling scheme.