As 36 and 54-hole leader, many would have fancied world-number-76 Paul Dunne to make it two European Tour titles at the Open de Espańa.
A final-round 71 contrasted Jon Rahm’s winning 67 as Dunne fell into solo second; but there is great consolation for Dunne in vastly improving his chances of making the European Ryder Cup team in September.
The Irishman began the week in eighth position, on 1.077 million European points, in the race for the four European points qualification spots up for grabs. And his third consecutive top-10 will have bolstered his hopes as he picks up just shy of 0.2 million points at Centro Nacional de Golf to close the gap on Matthew Fitzpatrick, Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood directly ahead of him.
One man certain to make the team is world-number-four Rahm. With his fifth career win and first on home soil, it looks unfeasible that Rahm would now not make Europe’s team through qualification. Even if he were to miss out, he would be a definite wild card.
Here’s a look at the Ryder Cup qualification standings before the Open de Espańa and RBC Heritage results from this weekend:
Dunne will still be outside the qualifying top four but the cap will be significantly closed after his runner-up finish in Spain.
There’s still several months and copious tournaments remaining in qualification, but for a player as unrecognised as Paul Dunne a few months ago, he will be encouraged by the position he has put himself in.