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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Some New Guys Learn How Quickly Things Can Turn

Over at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, two new pros made their debuts with stellar performances on Day 1 and Day 2... and less-than-stellar performances on Day 3.

Those two players, of course, were Paul Dunne and Jimmy Mullen (pictured below). After two rounds Mullen had a share of the lead and Dunne was just a shot back.

Jimmy Mullen

Then Carnoustie happened. Dunne dropped back to T13 with a par 72, Mullen to T21 with a two-over 74. Meanwhile, other players went low at St Andrews and Kingsbarns:
  • Joakim Lagergren picked up eight shots on his back nine at Kingsbarns to post 62. He's now T4.
  • Two other players shot 64s -- Florian Fritsch (2nd) at Kingsbarns and Brooks Koepka (T8) at St Andrews.
  • And Thorbjorn Olesen shot 65 at St Andrews to take the lead at -17, three clear of Fritsch.
Personally I like Olesen's chances today. He's been battling injuries but finally seems to be past them... and his putter is heating up. His rounds of 68-66-65 may be the most consistent in the field, and that 65 came on St Andrews. That's where the final round will be played today.

As for Dunne and Mullen, they've got their work cut out for them. Not only did they lose ground on Saturday but neither shot better than -3 when they played St Andrews on Friday. They're getting a firsthand lesson on how rapidly pro golf -- as opposed to amateur golf -- can turn on you.

But I believe there's a silver lining for both players. You see, each player had his best showing at Kingsbarns with a 64. Given that Kingsbarns is a bit more 'American' in its style of play -- it's more target golf than links golf -- this may bode well for both in the majors going forward, as most of those courses tend to be more target-oriented.

That's not gonna help them much this week. Still, both should get decent checks for their first outings as pros, and that's always good for a player's confidence. We'll need to keep an eye out for them over the next few months and see how quickly they can get into the flow of pro golf.

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