Paul Dunne, who became the first amateur to hold a 54-hole lead in a major championship in the last 44 years and the first to accomplish it at the British Open since Bob Jones in 1927, will now compete in the championship that Jones won a record five times. Dunne, 22, has accepted a special exemption from the USGA into the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship, to be conducted at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club, Aug. 17-23.
The Republic of Ireland native carded a 66 on the Old Course at St. Andrews to share the 54-hole lead with 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, of South Africa, and Jason Day, of Australia, both of whom posted top-10 finishes at the U.S. Open in June at Chambers Bay.
Dunne, a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, struggled in Monday’s final round, shooting a 6-over 78 to fall into a tie for 30th. Nevertheless, his performance at St. Andrews thrilled crowds and brought back memories of Jim Simons in the 1971 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. Simons held the 54-hole lead by two strokes over Jack Nicklaus, only to card a final-round 76 and tie for fifth.
Jones is the last amateur to have won the British Open, doing so in his Grand Slam season of 1930. Johnny Goodman remains the last amateur to win a major championship with his 1933 U.S. Open triumph.
Dunne, who is from Dublin, was the 2014 Conference USA Player of the Year. He finished fifth in this year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Golf Championship and earned third-team All-America honors. He is currently No. 38 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, having moved up from No. 80, and he also represented Ireland in last year’s World Amateur Team Championship in Japan.
“Paul Dunne demonstrated his ability to compete with anyone by his outstanding play in the recent British Open at St. Andrews,” said Diana M. Murphy, chairman of the USGA’s Championship Committee. “The USGA is pleased that he will be joining the strong international field of 312 players in the U.S. Amateur, our oldest national championship, at Olympia Fields.”
The U.S. Amateur will be Dunne’s first USGA championship.
For tickets and additional information on the U.S. Amateur, the oldest golf championship in the United States, visit the official championship overview page.