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Dunne shoots 61 to beat McIlroy at British Masters

Paul Dunne

World number 192 Paul Dunne turned professional in 2015

Ireland’s Paul Dunne shot a nine-under-par 61 on the final day of the British Masters to hold off Rory McIlroy and win his first European Tour title.

Dunne finished on 20 under par to win by three strokes from Northern Irishman McIlroy, who is on course for only the second winless season of his career.

Dunne, 24, carded seven birdies and an eagle in his final round in Newcastle.

World number six McIlroy shot 63 for his best round of the weekend to finish on 17 under at Close House.

Dunne was in a five-way tie for second heading into Sunday’s final round, which he began with three birdies in his first five holes before eagling the sixth.

The world number 192, who came to prominence after sharing the 54-hole lead at the 2015 Open while still an amateur, added four more birdies on the back nine.

That included chipping in on the par-three 18th to finish in style and claim a three-stroke victory after McIlroy had earlier closed to within a shot of the lead.

“It feels great. I feel like I’ve been up there a few times and never put my foot down to win it,” said Dunne, who lost a play-off to Edoardo Molinari in the Hassan Trophy in April.

“I have come close, so it’s nice to put the demon off my back and get my first one.”

McIlroy cards lowest score of season

Rory McIlroy<!–

McIlroy was a late entry after failing to qualify for the Tour Championship

McIlroy’s 63 was the lowest score of an injury-plagued season which he will bring to an early end next week at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

He made a hat-trick of birdies from the sixth at Close House, but was playing catch-up and his chance of a first win this season looked to have gone after bogeying the 11th.

However, the four-time major winner carded four birdies in five holes from the 12th and moved within a shot of Dunne with another birdie at the 17th.

“It was nice to have a chance to win a tournament,” said McIlroy, whose last victory came at the Tour Championship in September last year.

“The more chances I have like that the better.”

McIlroy, 28, also praised Dunne for the way the Irishman claimed his first European title.

“It’s unbelievable to shoot 61 to win his first tournament, it’s very well deserved,” he added.

Ryder Cup vice-captain Robert Karlsson began the day with a one-shot lead and the Swede finished third on 16 under par after a final-round 66.

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