Walker Cup stars shine at Dunhill Links

Walker cup stars Paul Dunne and Jimmy Mullen lead after round 1

KINGSBARNS, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 01: Paul Dunne of Ireland plays his second shot to the sixth green during the first round of the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the Kingsbarns Golf Links on October 1, 2015 in Kingsbarns, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rookie pros Paul Dunne and Jimmy Mullen claim shares of the first-round lead in the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Rookie professionals and Walker Cup stars, Paul Dunne and Jimmy Mullen, embarked on their tour careers in the best way possible yesterday in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, by both shooting 64, eight under par, in the first round at Kingsbarns to claim shares of the first-round lead.

In uncanny symmetry, Englishman Mullen, 21, and Irishman Dunne, 22, are both playing in their first European Tour events as professionals this week, having turned professional after Great Britain and Ireland’s victorious Walker Cup campaign last month. Both players have qualified for the second stage of European Tour Qualifying School, but a victory in Scotland this week would catapult either player into full European Tour membership.

Dunne, who held a share of the third-round lead at the 2015 Open at St Andrews before finishing tied-30th, even bagged a hole-in-one at Kingsbarns’ par-three 15th hole yesterday – his sixth hole – to spur him on to his 64.

"I kind of needed it," said Dunne after his round. "I got off to a bit of a ropey start. I was hitting a lot of poor full shots. My putter was kind of saving me, to be level par playing 15, which was my sixth, and it was nice to get a hole-in-one. The shot was exactly as I pictured it. I tried to start it at the left edge of green and let the wind drift it and I thought I hit it close and when I saw it drop, it was great. Nice little bonus there.

"I played some good golf from then on in and I am happy with my score. There are scores out there to be had. You just have to make putts and get dialed in with your distance control and your irons."

Mullen, who became only the fourth golfer in history to win four points in four matches at the Walker Cup, also holed out from distance at Kingsbarns yesterday, when his second shot at the par-four sixth found the bottom of the cup for an eagle.

Mullen and Dunne shared the first-round lead with Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg, who shot 64 at St Andrews. Mullen and Dunne are both playing at St Andrews in the second round today, while Broberg moves onto the toughest scoring test of the Dunhill Links’ trio of courses, Carnoustie.

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz is Official Partner of the 2015 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Freelance Writer

Robin has worked for Golf Monthly for over a decade.