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October 1, 2017

Paul Dunne

Newcastle upon Tyne, England

BRIONY CARLYON: Okay. Congratulations, Paul Dunne, fantastic maiden European Tour victory here at the British Masters supported by SKY Sports. You must be thrilled. Just tell us what you're feeling right now.

PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, you know, kind of a sense of relief to prove it to myself that I can get it done. I think I've improved a lot mentally over the last year in these kind of situations. I found myself a lot of Sundays last year feeling like I needed to press forward trying to chase my card and I was struggling with it. My Sunday performances weren't that strong. And this year, it's something I've definitely improved on.

I feel like I've got a bit tougher mentally, and I get excited to go out and look at the leaderboard, rather than trying to look (ph) at position. I think I took that into today. I went out and really tried to win the tournament, rather than have someone hand it to me. That was the focus. Once I was in front, just keep pushing, make no bogeys and see how many birdies I can make. Yeah, absolutely thrilled.

Q. Does it give you any extra special feeling knowing you beat Rory to win your first tournament? (Laughter).
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, I mean, obviously any time I can beat a field of this quality -- you know, I don't know how many, but I know there's a lot of players in the world Top-50 here. That obviously gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that I can beat players of that calibre.

The fact that Rory came second, Shane came seventh, that's just great for Irish golf. I think we only four in the field this week, three of the top seven, and Graeme was doing okay. I don't know how he finished, as well. Great week for Irish golf.

But obviously, it doesn't matter who comes second; as in, I don't mind who's name is behind me. If it's Rory or anybody else, I'm just trying to shoot a lower score than everyone else. When I was out there, I wasn't thinking too much about it, but I knew, knowing who he was, that he had the firepower to reach 17 with his tee shot. So I kind of just assumed he was going to play the last three in at least 2-under par.

But you know, I'm happy to hold off anybody if I win.

Q. He was quite complimentary. How does this change your goals looking forward?
PAUL DUNNE: I'm not really sure. It just got me into that World Golf Championships in China, which is great. That was one of my goals over the next three weeks, because I think the top 30 in The Race to Dubai get into that, and I was 34th. That's one of them achieved.

But I don't know; I have no idea what kind of doors this opens or anything like that. I'm still going to play the next two weeks, the Dunhill and The Italian Open, and just kind of build off that. Then we've got a great run of -- I'm going to have four in a row there from China to Dubai, The Final Series events, The Race to Dubai, which means every tournament I'm playing in for the rest of the year is a big event and a chance for lots of World Ranking points and that kind of thing.

So I don't even know where it's going to lead me, but I'll have a better idea in eight weeks.

Q. Rory paid tribute to your work ethic. Is that great for your game or can it work both ways sometimes?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, I've had a tough time being too hard on myself sometimes. But then I figured out that that gives you strength, as well. You know, I do think I work hard, but I think everybody works hard. There's only a vast majority of players who don't put the work into every element of their game, whether it be fitness, golf, diet, travelling plan, scheduling, all that kind of thing.

Everyone at this stage seems to have good teams behind them and puts the work in, and it's something that I definitely don't -- when push comes to shove on Sunday, you just have to get the job done. That's what I've been telling myself over the last few months is you need to put everything else aside and try to get the job done on Sunday, and that's when all the hard work pays off. But you can't think about it that way, because if you expect the hard work to pay off, then you won't have that drive. So kind of keep moving and keep pushing forward.

Yeah, I've definitely put a lot of hard work in, but I think everyone out here has.

Q. You certainly developed a bit of luck, but can you talk us through 11. I've never seen that before?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, neither have I. My tee shot went a long way. I've had a lot shorter in than I've had every other day. I think I had 106 flag and I knew if I missed it left, that the edge of the green could pin (ph) the angle I was hitting at sharply. So I was trying to hit it just right of the flag. I just got a little ahead led of it and pulled it, and when you pull it, it goes really long.

It had a lot of spin on. I didn't know how far down that slope it was going to be but I was expecting it to go down there and be a difficult up-and-down. And then I didn't know what happened. I saw a ball flying sideways and looked like it was close. I'm not going to complain. I've got many good breaks, many bad breaks, but one that was a great one for that time.

Q. It seemed from the outside it was like a tale of two nines, dealing with the pressure of the lead on the back nine. Was that how it was for you or was it deceptive from the outside?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, I wanted to get off to a quick start because I knew -- I was only one shot behind the lead but there was, I don't know, 15 people within two shots. I knew when it's bunched, you're going to have to shoot at least 5-under to have a chance to win; especially when I saw the rain wasn't going to hit us, which we got really lucky with that.

So I knew, minimum, 5-under. I tried to get off to a quick start. I hit a good shot into the first and airmailed the green and then had a nice chip-in. I played really solid from there and made a couple of birdies, eagle at the sixth and I was 5-under through six. I knew that I was at least two or three ahead.

From then, even two or three ahead, I knew if I had level par in, I probably still wouldn't win. I was just trying to, you know, put my foot down and keep moving. I had bad shots on the back nine but managed to scrape some pars when I needed to.

Q. You talked about how your final day performance has improved. Did it kick in on the back nine, and did the playoff experience in Morocco affect that at all?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, definitely kicked on. I'm not sure, the playoff in Morocco -- you know, what I've been having a few. Last year I felt like I was getting into the Top-10 through two rounds a lot and finishing 30th, which wasn't doing much. And all I was thinking about was making enough to keep my card. Those tournaments are quite costly. There's a difference in winning at the top; it drops off quite quickly and then it kind of levels out.

Yeah, that was getting in my head a little bit. And then at the start of this year, I got into a better mind-set on the weekend. I kind of found what made myself tick a little bit more. Got myself in the right mind frame to play to try and do well, rather than playing not to do badly, if that makes sense.

So yeah, that definitely helped, and then I've had a few good weekends this year. You know, I shot 65, 66 on the weekend, twice, and even though they just -- well, I think I finished sixth and like 13th when I did that. But they still gave my confidence; I'm trying to move up the leaderboard, it's the same mind-set as trying to win a tournament trying to finish as high as you can.

Yeah, I really kind of fed off that.

Q. We all remember you coming into prominence for the first time when you were leading The Open after 54 as an amateur. Did that raise unrealistic expectations either from yourself or from outside, and was there a period where you had to come to terms with that?
PAUL DUNNE: Yes and no. My expectations changed after that. I think before I played in that Open, I was hopeful that I would make a career out of playing golf, you know, but I wasn't sure. I had had a decent amateur career, but I wouldn't say by any stretch of the imagination that I was one of the best amateurs ever.

You know, I think that's the comparisons that were made when I did that in The Open, which -- whether other people made assumptions how I was going to do after that. I think the biggest thing for me was I got a lot of confidence in knowing I could make a living playing golf. And once I knew that, I knew that I could get through Q-School if I just played my own game. I think I kind of built off that.

I didn't really have expectations that I was going to win loads of tournaments, loads of majors, all that kind of thing, which a few people said. But the end of the day, the only person's expectations I really care about are my own.

Q. You're a new Tour winner and this is a new Tour venue. How did you and the players feel Close House was this week?
PAUL DUNNE: Yeah, it was great. The course was hilly, lots of elevation change. It was in great condition. The fairways were wide, which kind of fit into my game a little bit because when I struggled this year, it's been with accuracy off the tee. So there was more emphasis on iron play and short game, which suits me.

But I enjoyed the course. The fact that I haven't been out here that long, playing a brand new course, probably suits me. Because we go to some of these other courses and players have played them for 25 years in a row, so they have a lot more course knowledge than I would going to a venue.

I know they like to move this event around; I think it's that's a good idea. Kind of a fresh challenge every year. But the course played great. The greens were tricky to read. I think on Friday afternoon, they got really bumpy, but I think that was because of the rain in the morning and I was out second-last. But they held up great. On the weekend, I thought they rolled much better. But it's just with a lot of greens sitting quite high up, when it got breezy, it was tricky to read them, you know, and see which way they were going to great, but all in all, it was a good course, yeah.

Q. Did you promise yourself a fancy car or anything for the first win?
PAUL DUNNE: Not really, no. I probably will buy a boat (laughter). I don't know yet. I'll have to look. Yeah, obviously the money is great. It means I don't have to worry about getting a job where I have to sit behind a desk. But after all this, you know, I really love playing golf, and I've been grateful. You know, when I turned pro, I never had to worry about money. I had great sponsors from the outset. That really helped me in that in that front, and took the worry out of my head completely.

So yeah, I might buy something nice, but I don't know what it is. I probably would rather buy something nice for my family or something.

Q. Social media, lots of messages of congratulations. One significant one was from Thomas Björn. What are your prospects of playing in Paris this time next year?
PAUL DUNNE: Don't know. Who knows? If I keep playing like I did this week, they would probably be pretty good. I played with Robert Karlsson today. He's an assistant captain, so that can't hurt. (Laughter).

It's not something I've thought about really. I'd love to play The Ryder Cup. Obviously I think anybody would. But to make the team, you know, I would be a rookie. So if I have to make the team, I have to qualify. I wouldn't get a pick. They pick people with more experience. In order to make that team, I'm going to have to keep winning.

I think that there's lots of obstacles first that I need to focus on before I can think about making that team. Hopefully ten months down the line, I'm in good position to do it. But for now, I'm going to try to just keep getting better.

BRIONY CARLYON: Thank you very much, Paul.

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