Robin Dawson shot the lowest round of his short professional career to make his move up the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open early in today’s third-round play at Lahinch.
The former Ireland amateur international from Tramore, Co. Waterford, and attached to Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, turned pro late last year and only learned he had received an invitation to play this $7 million (€6.25m) European Tour event on Monday morning.
Dawson, 23, made light of the late call-up and steady morning rain as he shot a bogey-free, six-under-par 64 to move into the 54-hole clubhouse lead on seven under, still two off the overall lead held by South Africa’s Zander Lombard, who was due to start his third round at 12.50pm today alongside England’s Eddie Pepperell, who will begin from eight under.
Cormac Sharvin is six-under after six holes of his round, Padraig Harrington is three-under also after six.
Seamus Power has recovered from a poor start to move back to two-under through 10 with Shane Lowry in the clubhouse at two-under after a round of 70.
Having sunk a 15-foot putt just to make the halfway cut, Dawson’s move gives him an excellent chance of bagging one of the three available spots for The Open Championship at Royal Portrush in two weeks which will go to the highest finishers in the final top-10 not already exempt for the oldest major.
“The comfort of playing a familiar course, home to amateur golf’s annual South of Ireland Championship, and links golf in general has been a huge benefit to the Challenge Tour rookie this week but Dawson will not get too carried away with the leaders still to play their third rounds and a final day’s play on Sunday yet to come.
“I am kind of just happy to keep playing golf. all that stuff looks after itself,” Dawson said following his 64, “if you start looking into that the golf goes by the wayside.
“If I keep doing what I am doing I will be fine. It is nice to be back on links greens because it has been a bit tricky on different types of grasses and the travel. I don’t mind the travel but it is grains and stuff like that, definitely nice to be back on links greens again.”
Dawson’s late entry into the Irish Open, courtesy of fellow Team Ireland golfer Gavin Moynihan’s qualification, forced some hasty rescheduling for the Waterford man last Monday.
“I found out Monday, 10:30am or 11am, I was in,” Dawson said.
“I was supposed to leave Rome on Monday evening. I had my flight booked onto Slovakia for the next Challenge Tour event, I was pretty happy to leave that one go."
“Rang Gavin to see if he got in automatically because I knew the next Team Ireland invite, I was next on the list so I knew it would go back to me. You need those little breaks as well, everybody has got them.
“The flight cost me a few quid but I didn’t care about that coming here. I feel a lot more comfortable on the main Tour than the Challenge Tour, I don’t know why.
“Maybe it’s because I’m playing at Lahinch, I know the course.
“I think the links golf is definitely a help. I play this course a lot in all weather, all different types of winds and stuff so I think that is a big factor. Even my caddie (former Irish Amateur Close champion and Home Internationals team-mate) Peter O’Keeffe has played it about 100 times, so it is great to have that knowledge around the course.”