Dunne fends off McIlroy to win British Masters
Paul Dunne claimed his first European Tour victory in style with a three-shot triumph as Rory McIlroy ended his season by finishing runner-up in the British Masters on Sunday.
The Irishman had three prior top-10 finishes this year, losing a play-off with Edoardo Molinari at the Trophee Hassan II in April, and sealed his maiden victory as a professional courtesy of a sensational nine-under final round of 61.
Dunne started the day a shot behind overnight leader Robert Karlsson and saved the best round of the week at Close House Golf Club until last to take the title ahead of McIlroy.
The Dubliner hit the turn in 30 following three birdies and an eagle at the par-five sixth, making another four gains on the back nine to deny McIlroy an elusive victory in his final tournament of the year.
There were huge roars at the Newcastle course when Dunne chipped in at 18 after narrowly avoiding a bunker with his tee shot on a day in which his short game was outstanding.
The 24-year-old, joint-leader going into the final round of The Open as an amateur two years ago, picks up a cheque for £500,000, reward for an accomplished performance.
McIlroy applied the pressure with a closing seven-under 63, the former world number one rattling off five of his eight birdies in the last seven holes.
The four-time major champion will now take an extended break before attempting to return to the peak of his powers next year.
Karlsson finished with a 66 to take third place ahead of a trio of Florian Fritsch, David Lingmerth and Graeme Storm on 14 under.