Paul Dunne, an amateur golfer from Ireland who entered the 2015 British Open as a virtual nonfactor, has a chance to make PGA Tour history in the tournament’s final round. The 22-year-old walked onto the Old Course at St. Andrews in a three-way tie for the lead after he shot-12 under through the first 54 holes.
Dunne will be in the final group Monday morning alongside Louis Oosthuizen, with tee time slated for 9:30 a.m. ET. Dunne, Oosthuizen and Jason Day all entered Monday at 12-under. If Dunne pulls off a victory, he would become the first amateur golfer to win the British Open since Bobby Jones accomplished the feat in 1930, ESPN reported.
“It’s surreal I’m leading The Open, but I can easily believe that I shot the three scores that I shot,” Dunne told reporters, according to ESPN. “If we were playing an amateur event here, I wouldn’t be too surprised by the scores I shot. It’s just lucky that it happens to be in the biggest event in the world.”
Dunne played college golf at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and asked his former coach, Alan Murray, to serve as his caddy at The Open, CBS Sports reported. Before the tournament, sportsbooks gave Dunne 1500-to-1 odds of victory.
He played his best golf Sunday during the tournament’s third round, when he shot 6-under and failed to bogey a single hole. The strong performance dropped Dunne’s score to 12-under and put him in prime position to take home the Claret Jug, The Open’s iconic trophy. To win, he’ll have to fend off Oosthuizen, Day and Jordan Spieth, the 21-year-old phenom who’s won the PGA Tour’s last two major tournaments.
“Hopefully, I can do it again tomorrow,” he said. “But whether I do or not, I’ll survive either way.”
Even if he does win Monday, Dunne won’t be able to cash in on the British Open’s $1.8 million reward for a first place finish. The R&A, which regulates professional golf in the United Kingdom, prevents amateurs from winning any prize money. Instead, his winnings would be divided among the professional players who made it through the second-run cut.