The Open: Irish amateur Paul Dunne makes impression on Day One
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The Open: Irish amateur Paul Dunne makes impression on Day One

Irish amateur golfer Paul Dunne briefly sat joint-top of the leaderboard on the opening day of the 144th Open Championship.

The Wicklow native teed off as part of the second group on players at 6.43am on Thursday, and shared the lead with Sweden’s David Lingmerth on two under after two holes.

Lingmerth, who is a professional, eventually pulled clear of the 22-year-old Irish rookie, but Dunne remained competitive after 10 holes at four under, which put him joint-second.

Dunne, who came through final qualifying at Woburn to compete at the event, finished his round on three under with a respectable score of 69 on Day One at St Andrews.

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Meanwhile, one of Ireland’s biggest hopes of lifting the famous Claret Jug – Shane Lowry – got off to a bad start, bogeying his first hole before recovering to level par with birdies on holes seven and nine.

Lowry then worked his way into a very favourable position, but his rollercoaster day took another bad turn as he was forced to take an eight after landing in the hotel grounds on hole 17, ending the opening day at one over.

Graeme McDowell finished on level par, while Darren Clarke finished one over with a score of 73.

Finally, Padraig Harrington was the last of the Irish competitors to tee off and he finished up with a score of 72, leaving him on par heading into Day Two on Friday.