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July 6, 2017

Paul Dunne

Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Q. Bogey-free 67 in the first round of your national championship. Just how good does that feel?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, it feels great. Especially kind of the way I played, I feel like I really struggled from tee-to-green all day getting the ball in the fairway off the tee and kind of scrambled my way around and when I had chances, I took them. Really pleased kind of when I was struggling to keep the bogeys off the card.

Q. 65 in France last week in the final round to climb up that leaderboard. Were you hitting it well at that stage?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, I'm kind of going through phases. I'm hitting it great one day and not the next, and kind of losing the feeling that I have.

Comes and goes. I had it for a little part of the round, but hopefully I can go to the range, find it and have it tomorrow and shoot a better one.

Q. The Irish fans are known for their enthusiasm and passion for the game. What was it like atmosphere-wise out there today?
PAUL DUNNE: It was amazing, especially being in the group of front of Rory, and then playing with Lee and Tyrrell, I got a good draw this week. Big crowds everywhere. So lots of people to find my ball if I hit it in the rough.

Playing at home is great. The Irish fans are the best in the world. They really support their hometown in every sport. It was great to feel the home support, even being 3 1/2 hours from home.

Q. The 67, what pleased you the most?
PAUL DUNNE: Probably keeping the bogeys off the card. I had no bogeys today, and especially on the back nine, I was really struggling off the tee to get the ball in the fairway and it was nice to scramble my way in.

I think I have a good idea of the course and the places to miss it off the tee and how to get around it. On a day that my game felt like it was struggling a little bit, it was nice to get in with a good score and something to build off.

Q. It's fantastic if you can shoot 5-under par and you don't feel as if you're firing on all cylinders.
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, I'm not going to say that if I feel more comfortable I'm going to shoot 10-under or anything. It's just a lack of comfort on the course. I didn't really have a great idea where the ball was going off the tee today, so I found it hard to eliminate certain sides.

Hopefully I can get a bit more comfortable and then I can be a bit more aggressive with my tee shots and give myself some more chances.

Q. Round of 67 but that doesn't really tell the whole story.
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, I just kind of felt a little uncomfortable in my swing today. Missed a lot of fairways. But I managed to hit some good recovery shots and scramble well around the greens and some good lag putting. Kind of keep the bogeys off the card.

Then the holes that I did feel a bit better, I managed to capitalise and make my birdies. It was nice to get a good round off and something to build off.

Q. Three in a row birdies-wise coming into the back nine, but that one in 9 particularly impressive coming out of that long rough?
PAUL DUNNE: 7, I had about ten feet for eagle, so that was a chance gone. And then I hit it to a gimmie on 8.

Then on 9, I just hit a kind of wayward drive and I was lucky to find it, really. Then I was just trying to hack it back into play and it came out perfect. Flew up to the green to 20 feet and made it for birdie. That was a bonus, something I wasn't expecting. We get plenty of the opposite, so I'll take it when they come.

Q. Did you set yourself any expectations coming into this week?
PAUL DUNNE: Into this week, no. I'm just trying to keep getting better, give myself a chance to win. If I can give myself a chance to win, I'll try to take it but I'm just trying to take it week-by-week and improve and get my game better.

Q. Might have been a bit stressful today, but do you like playing this kind of golf course?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, a day like today is perfect. We got one bad shower when I was on the fourth, and apart from that, it's been beautiful all day. There's been a five-mile-an-hour wind and the temperatures have been up for Ireland. It's hard to beat links golf weather like this.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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