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Dublin: 11°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Dunne slips after strong start in Shanghai while Power in contention in Mississippi

There were mixed fortunes for the Irish in China and the United States this morning.

Paul Dunne is nine shots behind Dustin Johnson while Power shot an opening round of 68.
Paul Dunne is nine shots behind Dustin Johnson while Power shot an opening round of 68.

PAUL DUNNE WAS left frustrated after a penultimate hole double bogey saw the 24-year-old fall from a tie for eighth to a tie for 22nd at the WGC-HSBC Champions on Friday, meaning he trails Dustin Johnson by nine shots.

The Greystones man entered the second round just three shots off the lead however failed to carry that early form into Friday, where he finished with a one over par round of 73 in south east China.

Johnson surged into the lead with a sizzling 63, however Brooks Koepka remains firmly in contention after a late charge.

Johnson was four behind overnight leader Koepka but turned on the style on the back nine with seven birdies, having picked up two shots before the turn.

Big hitting off the tee enabled Johnson to rack up the birdies and, with momentum on his side, he soon surged to the top of the leaderboard as he came home in 29.

The world number one’s 63 was just one shot short of Martin Kaymer’s course record and leaves him in contention to become the first player to win three of the four World Golf Championships in a single season.

“Obviously I played very well today but I actually got a putter like about 20 minutes before I teed off, it’s a Spider, so it’s one that I’ve used before,” said Johnson, who won this tournament in 2013.

“I wasn’t really pleased with the one I played with yesterday so the guys here in China made me one. I got it right before I walked to the tee.

“I hit a few putts on the practice green with it and I was like, ‘oh, this will work pretty well’. Went out and holed a lot of putts today, so I kind of like it.

“It’s a golf course that I enjoy playing. It suits my eye very well.”

Elsewhere in Mississippi Seamus Power played into contention at the Sanderson Farms Championship where he hit a four-under par round of 68.

The 30-year-old is currently just two shots off the lead after dropping just a single shot — on the 15th — while holing three birdies on the front nine.

The Waterford man is aiming to continue a streak of first-time winners at the competition where Andrew Landry and J.J Spaun are among five Americans who shot a 6-under 66 to share the lead.

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