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October 2, 2015

Paul Dunne

Carnoustie-Kingsbarns, Scotland

Q. What was it like being back on the Old Course?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, it's a lot different, the look of the course without all the big stands at The Open. Visually it's different and harder to pick targets off the tee. We had a different wind than we played all week in The Open, as well. The course played a lot differently but it's great. Brings back some good memories. Really glad to be back.

Q. How much different would it have been for you and Jimmy Mullen starting this week?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, obviously Jimmy has me where he wants. He's playing just a little bit better than I am. Yeah, we were obviously Walker Cup teammates a few weeks ago. Great to see him getting off to such a good start.

I think it just shows that the high levels of the amateur game can play good enough golf and compete at the professional level. Delighted for Jimmy, hopefully I can catch him over the weekend, but time will tell.

Q. Did you feel differently coming in after what had happened in The Open, even though you had changed from the amateur ranks to the professional?
PAUL DUNNE: Not really. I had not played Kingsbarns before this week, but I knew the other two courses. I have Carnoustie tomorrow, so there's a comfortability. We play a lot of amateur golf on links and playing courses you're familiar with. Once you get out there, it's just golf, doesn't matter if it's professional or amateur. Still a golf ball sitting in front of you that needs to be hit. Yeah, I didn't feel too different.

Q. Are you comfortable? You seem very comfortable, or are you nervous about going into the last two days?
PAUL DUNNE: I'm not nervous. I get nervous over certain shots. I get nervous on like the 14th tee or 17th tee. I think it's more the shots that affect me rather than the situation that I'm in. So if I have a difficult shot, I'll be nervous over it, but I'm not going to be nervous standing on the 18th tee when it's nice and wide and a nice wind.

Q. What's the difference playing the Old Course for money instead of just glory?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, I'm really not thinking about the money obviously.

Q. Really?
PAUL DUNNE: The money will take care of itself. If I keep playing good golf, I won't have to worry about money. It would be nice to get a payday at the end of the week, but we won't find that out until Sunday evening.

Hopefully I can just keep playing the golf. If I just keep focusing on getting better on myself, progressing, then money should take care of itself over time.

Q. You really like it here at St. Andrews, don't you?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, the whole town. This is the first time I've been to town when university is in session. A lot busier than when I've been here, so cool atmosphere around here. I love the golf course here, so much history behind it and so many different ways to play the course, depending on wind direction, tee markers, pin position, all that kind of thing changes your strategy. It can change so much day-to-day and just happy to be back.

Q. Quite remarkable to see one of your Walker Cup Team mates at the top of the leaderboard just one shot off. Did you talk about this ahead of the week that you could go well this week?
PAUL DUNNE: I haven't spoken to Jimmy this week, actually. I'm staying with Gary who was on the Walker Cup, as well. I haven't seen Jimmy. It's remarkable but I wouldn't be too surprised by it. Jimmy has been playing well, he got four out of four matches in the Walker Cup and he's won big events as an amateur by a lot of shots.

When his confidence gets up, he's not afraid to play well. It's great the two of us are playing so well. Hopefully we can keep it up over the weekend and have a good finish.

Q. I spoke to him when he came off the 18th, and he said a lot of the amateurs have Paul Dunne to thank for what he did at The Open Championship for giving us the belief that when we turn pro, we can go on and do some real damage. What's your reaction to that?
PAUL DUNNE: Well, if that's the case, I hope he can give me a few shots for the weekend. I think that's an individual base. Maybe it's helped him. It's helped me feel more comfortable in these situations for sure. But I'm sure it will help some people and not help others. If I can help amateurs in the transition by doing what I did, that's great, but I'm just trying to focus on myself and get myself ready for the weekend and hopefully beat Jimmy by one.

Q. The birdie at the first did that help to set your mind at rest after a difficult last day at The Open?
PAUL DUNNE: Today, no, I wasn't thinking about it. It's a completely different thing. It was a completely different wind. It was very cold. I was just concentrating on the shots I was trying to hit. I didn't think about The Open, really, until I got to 16 and 17, just because they had such a different look when I played The Open. I was just focusing on today's round and trying to play well.

Q. The way the amateur game is run, you're almost behaving like professionals --
PAUL DUNNE: I don't know, I think it's very individual. Some people will make the jump really quick. Some people will feel more nervous than others. I don't think this is the first year that people have jumped straight from amateurs. Rory McIlroy came out here and nearly won the event in his first event.

I think the amateur schedule now plays a big part in it. We travel a lot. We don't play professional golf but we play a professional schedule. We do a lot of traveling, a lot of looking after yourself, playing good courses.

So yeah, everyone has their own home unions and golfing federations to thank for that. But yeah, I think it just depends on the individual.

Q. Have you heard from Rory since The Open?

Q. Do you text or anything like that?
PAUL DUNNE: No, I've never met him. I think he's quite a busy lad. If I get to meet him on the golf course any time in the future, I'll be doing okay. Hopefully I can some day.

Q. You must be pretty pleased when you've done so far?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, happy enough. Would have liked to have shot a few shots better today, but I'll take 70 the way I hit it on the first few holes and look forward to tomorrow. Hopefully I can have a more solid striking day.

Q. Have you surprised yourself over these two days?
PAUL DUNNE: Not really, no. The pins in Kingsbarns are quite easy. I putted well. You're going to give yourself loads of chances. Just got to take them. I putted okay today. I didn't putt quite as well as I did yesterday. Hence, the fact that I shot two shots higher. But Carnoustie is a different golf course again, so I have to get ready for it.

Q. Jimmy was saying he's a leaderboard watcher and he makes a point of trying to see his name up there if he can. Do you look for it or keep in the zone or not bother?
PAUL DUNNE: I don't ignore it. They are there and you can see them but it's only the second round. Doesn't matter if you're leading by four or behind by four. Kind of matters where you are on Sunday night.

Yeah, looking at the leaderboard today is not going to change any strategy I have. I'll see it but it won't affect anything I'm doing.

Q. What do you and Gary get up to in the evenings, without being too personal.
PAUL DUNNE: We're just staying in the middle of the town. We just go get dinner, try to stream up a movie on the laptop.

Q. Can I ask about your young playing partner, Keith, has he got a good game on him?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, he's a steady player. He drives the ball well. He doesn't have the most textbook of golf swings, but he got a bit unfortunate today that after he had a good round yesterday, they made him play off the championship tees instead of the amateur tees. I think he was the only one in the field that had to do that. That was a surprise. That was a bit unfortunate.

He's playing well. He's hit a lot of good shots. Just when they put him off the back tees, it's hard. I think we shot 60 yesterday, so I don't know if they were trying to -- he's a member here so I don't know if they were trying to even the playing field or what. We weren't even leading. Yeah, it's a strange one, but that's the way it goes.

We had a good day today. Hopefully we can play well again tomorrow.

Q. On the back of The Open, the fact that you are at the top of the leaderboard again here, do you think the guys will be looking at you and Jimmy, that these guys might still be here come Sunday night?
PAUL DUNNE: Sorry, who will be here?

Q. That you led the Open after two rounds and you're up here again, do you think other players will be looking at you as serious contenders?
PAUL DUNNE: Maybe. Again, it's different for everyone. Some people might think that. Some people might think different. Whatever people think doesn't matter. Talking about it is one thing and going out and hitting the shots is a completely different thing.

We'll only be there come Sunday, if we keep playing well, we can't let our foot off the pedal and stay there, especially not with the quality field that's here. I think all the top-ranked players are coming here tomorrow. There's a lot of them up here, as well, with an easier course to play than we have.

Yeah, if we play well, we'll stay up there. If we don't, we won't. It's as simple as that, really.

Q. When you walked around the course today and you look back on those three great rounds you played at The Open, is there any particular part of the course you remember where you played a really good shot over these three days?
PAUL DUNNE: The big one I thought about was the 11th tee box. There was a big stand left of 11, and the second round I remember the wind was howling off the left. But the way the stands, the way the crowds were, it was kind of swirling and you're standing off the tee and felt like it was howling off the right.

It was nice to get to the tee box and feel how the wind was doing. I remember having to aim 20 yards left with a 7-iron and hit a draw when the wind felt like it was off the right. It was kind of a scary shot. But apart from that, not really, no, I was just enjoying the day and trying to shoot the best score I could.

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