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Amateur Paul Dunne’s nerves exposed in ugly start at British Open

Paul Dunne’s shot at history slowed to a crawl on the first hole of the final round of the Open Championship, but his fairy tale story nearly came to a crashing halt when his drive on No. 2 went wide right and required him to hit a provisional off the tee.

The 22-year-old amateur who captured the imagination of the golf world and entered Monday’s finale with a share of the 54-hole lead was a portrait of composure during and after Sunday’s third round. Monday, understandably, not so much, as he tried to relax before taking the tee as the final competitor to go off in the final round.

His chunked approach shot at the first actually came up short of the burn, leaving Dunne short-sided to a front pin. A two-putt bogey dropped him from the top of the leaderboard.

He was even shakier on the second tee, where he needed not just that one provisional but two. After three tee shots, the good news for the amateur was that he was able to find his first drive. The bad news, another bogey as he plummeted down the leaderboard as fast as he climbed it on Sunday.

The nerves did dissipate on the third, however, as Dunne hit a perfect drive, stuck a wedge close from 84 yards outmand knocked in his birdie putt to get back on track.

The UAB alum who hails from Ireland would be the first amateur to win the British Open since Bob Jones did so in 1930.