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September 29, 2015

Paul Dunne


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Welcome to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. It's 15 days since making your debut as a pro.
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, 20 whole days. Really very grateful to The European Tour to get an invite to this event. I know they are very hard to come by. So it's a great opportunity for me to make a good start to my professional career.
Obviously I have great memories around St. Andrews, a bit of mixed memories; some great memories and some tough ones at the end. But I've played Carnoustie well, so I know that golf course well. I've never played Kingsbarns, so looking forward to seeing that place tomorrow. And just looking forward to getting going. Obviously the forecast seems very good so should be an enjoyable week.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Give us a quick update, Paul, to how you're approaching this week a different mentality, but a lot's happened since July.
PAUL DUNNE: Well, my plan at the start of the year was always to play Walker Cup and then turned professional after that. So after the Open, nothing really changed in my mind. It was something I always wanted to do. It was always a goal of mine. It was definitely something I was going to take up if I had a chance to play, so that was a great week. It was a great experience for the whole team to be on the winning side.
Yes, turning professional, I played Q‑School in Austria last week and was good to get through the first days there. It was a long process. This week, I'm just approaching it like any other golf tournament really. Just trying to get my preparation done, try to get my game in the best shape that it can be in and get a game plan for each of the three golf courses. You can have a game plan but you always have to hit the shots, but hopefully I can execute them well this week.
But I'm not putting any extra pressure on myself because of the event it is. Just trying to take it in stride and hopefully I play great golf.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Are you excited?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, definitely. It's brilliant. It's quite a relaxed atmosphere. It's great seeing so many celebrities around that I've watched on TV. It's great to be in this kind of environment. Hopefully I can be involved in more things like this moving forward. But yeah, for now, I'm just going to focus on this week, try to get my game in good shape and see where it can leave me at the end of the week.

Q. Do you often reflect on The Open week, and in particular the way it started and do you play over in your mind if you had started better that day?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, a lot more than you imagine. (Laughter).
I look back in a lot of different ways. A lot of disappointment the last day but it's important not just to look back on the negative points. Obviously there's some things that I could improve on going forward of how I handed myself in the last round and the shots I hit. Also a lot of great golf there that I can look at, how I prepared for the tournament and how I was feeling when I played that, as well.
Yeah, there's things I can look back on and things I can be proud of, take forward and try to implement them in weeks going forward and other things I can look back on I wasn't too happy with that I can try and change.
But it's difficult to say until you're in a position like that again whether it really helps you or not.

Q. You touched upon the first stage of the Q‑School there. That's huge, isn't it, because there's less profile than this event, but to get through that first stage psychologically is very important, isn't it?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, obviously I've never experienced Q‑School before, but from what I hear, it's quite a long, difficult process. But the way I look at it is it's three sets of golf tournaments that you have to finish inside the Top‑20, and if you do that, you'll get a full card.
So when I look at it that way, it sounds a lot simpler, when you talk about the amount of people going for their card relative to the amount of people that get it. It was good to get through Stage 1 but it's only step one out of three steps. Just going to look forward to Stage 2, but take these weeks beforehand as they come first and try to play as well as I can.

Q. Do you have more invitations coming up to tournaments on the Tour itself?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, I'm playing in the British Masters next week and the Portuguese Masters the week after. So I'm playing the next three weeks which is‑‑ for someone like me turning pro, it's such a big deal to get these invitations and really grateful to The European Tour. They have been really generous and I'm sure there's a lot of competition between people to try to get these spots, especially towards the end of the year with a lot of people trying to keep their card and improve their position on the rankings.
It's a great opportunity for me and hopefully I can make the most of it, but I can only tell you that in three weeks.

Q. What will you do, depending on the Tour School, do you have any plans to go away in the winter to prepare for the new season?
PAUL DUNNE: I haven't made any plans yet. But there's always the option for me to go back to my college in America for a few weeks and just practise with the team there. I have a great relationship with the coach there, Alan Murray, who caddied for me at The Open. He said any time it gets a bit rough in Ireland and I need some practise and some better weather; that I'm more than welcome to come over there and play. That's a great option to have. But for the moment, I have no plans.
It's difficult when you don't fully know your schedule for next year. I'm just going to kind of take it as comes really.

Q. Seven or eight years ago, another Irishman came to this event after a Walker Cup and did well enough in this event to get your card on the main tour, Rory. Is that something that's achievable this week, do you think?
PAUL DUNNE: You can offer me about anything that Rory's done and I'll take it.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: No pressure, Paul.
PAUL DUNNE: It's obviously achievable. I can obviously do it. I can play well enough to contend this week, I have no doubt about that, but I can't say that I will or I won't. If I play well, I'll have a good chance and if not, I won't.
I'm not putting any extra pressure on myself. I'm just going to take it like a new event and try to shoot the best score I can and see where it leaves me. Obviously what Rory has done has been quite inspiring.
I'm sure many people have aspirations to do what he did. He's definitely a role model for everyone in Irish golf. But for me, I'm just going to take this week as it comes. Everybody is different in how they prepare for different golf courses, so I'm just going to prepare the best way that I can.

Q. Given all that's happened the last couple of months, what's the best piece of advice you've had and probably what's the best thing you've learned about yourself?
PAUL DUNNE: I think I wasn't used to playing in front of a lot of cameras or crowds before. I played with my team (ph) in America this year, the final round, and the cameras all around, it was right in your face all day. So that was the first experience for me.
Between the Walker Cup and The Open, playing in front of crowds and cameras, I guess learning that I can handle myself well in situations that I didn't know that I could‑‑ I got advice what I played the practise round at The Open last year from Graeme McDowell's caddie. He just said that no matter how you start, he said, you'll be nervous when you play big events. He said: No matter how you start, the great players always find a way to settle themselves and put a score together where other people might fall away. Staying patient is definitely his message.
Then we had a good talk from Paul McGinley a few weeks ago at the Walker Cup. He talked in quite a lot of detail about the process and he focused back on preparing for events rather than worry about outcomes.
That's my main focus this week is to just take care of my business as well as I can and let the results take care of themselves.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: We wish you well for this week. Good luck.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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