Dunbar targets professional career after British Amateur win

�Russell Pritchard / Presseye - 25th June 2012'Preperations for the Irish Open 2012 at Royal Portrush'Amateur Champion Alan Dunbar '�Russell Pritchard / Presseye
�Russell Pritchard / Presseye - 25th June 2012'Preperations for the Irish Open 2012 at Royal Portrush'Amateur Champion Alan Dunbar '�Russell Pritchard / Presseye
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New British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar plans to compete at the European Tour qualifying school in September.

The 22-year-old’s win at Troon on Saturday has earned him invitations to this year’s Open as well as the US Masters and US Open in 2013.

Dunbar, a Walker Cup winner from Graeme McDowell’s Rathmore club, said: “I have done all I can do in amateur golf. I want to give pro golf a go.

“I want to go to qualifying school as an amateur to see how I get on,” he said.

Dunbar beat Matthias Schwab of Austria on the final hole to win the British Amateur crown in a tournament which had a field of 288 hopefuls.

After two rounds of strokeplay, the top 64 qualified for the matchplay stages and Dunbar came through five matches to set up the 36-hole final against Schwab.

The County Antrim golfer becomes the third player from Northern Ireland to win the British Amateur Championship following the successes of Garth McGimpsey in 1985 and Michael Hoey in 2001. “It is a tough event to win with so many players taking part over two courses,” he said. “You need a few breaks but I played a lot of good golf.

“We will sit down over the next few days and have a look at things and see where I want to go.”

Dunbar revealed afterwards that a quick pep talk from coach Seamus Duffy helped him clinch the crown.

“I was struggling with my long game during the morning and had a word with Seamus who came on the ferry with around 40 guys from Northern Ireland. He gave me a tip to make a fuller shoulder turn and it seemed to work in the afternoon.

“I had not entered for the Open but am now really looking forward to playing at Royal Lytham -- obviously the Masters is a great event and Seamus has said he would like to come to Augusta but if I get my tour card I do not know what I shall do.

“When I went two up mid-way through the outward half this afternoon I thought I had got it but then when he won a couple of holes in a row it was not so easy. I am just delighted to have won -- it was hard to believe that he missed such a short putt on the last.”

Dunbar is one of four amateurs playing in this week’s Irish Open at Royal Portrush, neighbouring his home club Rathmore.