Inside Golf: Paul Dunne the star attraction at Portrush

Open Championship hero Paul Dunne will attract much of the attention at Royal Portrush in two weeks as Ireland bid to defend their Home Internationals title on home soil.

Inside Golf: Paul Dunne the star attraction at Portrush

Dunne’s brilliant performance at St Andrews nine days ago, when he became the first amateur since Bobby Jones to lead The Open after 54 holes, captured headlines worldwide. Despite fading on the final day of the weather-delayed major, the 22-year-old from Greystones could have been forgiven for being tempted to turn professional following his tie for 30th place at the Home of Golf.

Yet Dunne has decided to retain his amateur status in order to make a Walker Cup appearance for GB & Ireland at Lytham this September and in the meantime will help spearhead a strong Home Internationals selection from the Golfing Union Of Ireland, supported by Fairstone Financial Management, for the men’s title defence from August 12 to 14.

Dunne, Colm Campbell, Jack Hume, Gary Hurley, Gavin Moynihan, Dermot McElroy and John Ross Galbraith all return from the side which captured the title with a Triple Crown at Southerndown in Wales last summer and they will be joined by four debutants.

Stuart Grehan, a Paddy Harrington scholar at Maynooth University, gets his reward for his South of Ireland success at the weekend in Lahinch, the Tullamore man having added the provincial major to his East of Ireland title with a final victory over Knock’s Colin Fairweather, who also makes the team.

The other two newcomers are The Island’s Paul McBride and Castle/UCD golfer Alex Gleeson.

The team will be captained by Lucan’s Tony Goode with John White of Armagh the team manager.

Ireland (Home Internationals, 2015):

Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint), Paul Dunne (Greystones), Colin Fairweather (Knock), Alex Gleeson (Castle/University College Dublin), Stuart Grehan (Tullamore/Maynooth University), Jack Hume (Naas), Gary Hurley (West Waterford/Maynooth University), Gavin Moynihan (The Island), Paul McBride (The Island), Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), John Ross Galbraith (Whitehead).

Non-travelling reserves:

Robin Dawson (Faithlegg/Maynooth University), Rowan Lester (Hermitage).

Happier day for Jason in Canadian Open

Jason Day recovered from the disappointment of a near miss at The Open Championship by winning the RBC Canadian Open by a stroke from Bubba Watson.

The Australian missed a crucial late putt and therefore a shot at the play-off which Zach Johnson ultimately won to take the Claret Jug at St Andrews last Monday, and he responded positively by squeezing out Watson with a final-round 68 to finish 17 under at Glen Abbey Golf Course.

Six birdies and two bogeys were enough to lift Day above overnight leader and local hopeful David Hearn, the Ontario-born player who surrendered his two-shot lead after shooting 72 on Sunday. Watson, who tied for fourth place with Day back in Scotland, was 16 under for the tournament after a run of five birdies across six holes saw the two-time Masters winner sign for 69 on day four in Oakville.

Day told @PGATOUR: “The first thing I said was, I’ve got to get the ball to the hole this time.”

The 27-year-old was referring to the classy 22-foot birdie putt that both rubber-stamped his victory here and helped dispel some of the gloom that descended when his shot came up inches short on the Old Course six days ago.

It was a fourth PGA Tour triumph for Day, who won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in February.

Hearn, meanwhile, had been bidding to become the first Canadian winner of the tournament in 61 years. Pat Fletcher was victorious in Vancouver in 1954.

After bolstering his lead with two opening birdies, he dropped strokes with bogeys on holes three and seven before bogeying the 12th and picking up a shot on the par-five 13th.

Jim Furyk placed fourth at 14 under and Tom Hoge joined Stewart Cink in a share of fifth place, both men shooting 66.

Keane again captains Irish Home International team

There are four new senior caps in the team named yesterday for Ireland’s Women’s Home International matches in England this September.

The Irish Ladies Golf Union will send a strong team to Royal Wimbledon Golf Club for the September 9-11 matches with four players – Maria Dunne, Paula Grant, Olivia Mahaffey and Chloe Ryan – who represented Ireland at the Ladies European Team Championships as well as Irish Ladies Close champion Sarah Helly and three Irish Girls team members in Julie McCarthy, Niamh McSherry and Annabel Wilson.

The Irish Ladies will be captained by Sinead Keane (Royal Curragh/Naas) for the second consecutive year with Donal Scott named as coach and Valerie Hassett as manager.

Irish Ladies (Home Internationals, 2015):

Maria Dunne (Skerries), Paula Grant (Lisburn), Sara Helly (Enniscrone), Olivia Mahaffey (Royal County Down Ladies), Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little), Niamh McSherry (Lurgan), Chloe Ryan (Castletroy), Annabel Wilson (Lurgan). First reserve: Sinead Sexton (Lahinch), 2nd reserve: Louise Coffey (Malone); 3rd reserve: Jessica Ross (Donaghadee); 4th reserve: Tara Gribben (Warrenpoint).

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