Brilliant Paul Dunne beats Rory McIlroy to the British Masters

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However, looming large over the final day is world number six Rory McIlroy, who is looking to win for a first time this season and keep alive a run of having won at least one event a season since 2009.

"You get yourself into contention and you start to think about things and it would be nice to get a win", said McIlroy, who chipped in for a birdie on the fifth hole and carded three more in a front nine of 31.

When the ball landed, though, it caught the edge of a sprinkler and bounced bizarrely back in the direction from whence it came, finishing just four feet from the flag. I saw my lines well, putted with great speed and had a few nice ones go in.

McIlroy, 28, also praised Dunne for the way the Irishman claimed his first European title.

"I got off to a bit of a rocky start and had to save a couple of pars early, but then got rolling with the putter and made five birdies in a row from the fourth and felt like I was swinging it better too".

Aberdeen's Richie Ramsay was sitting just one shot off the lead and was playing in the final group with Dunne and Sweden's Robert Karlsson but the Scot was left cursing the ones that got away as he signed off with a 69 for a 12-under total to share eighth place. I'm going to go to the range just now and work on it for maybe an hour, get rid of the frustration.

However, Dunne kept his nerve and finished in style with a brilliant birdie on the final hole to take home £500,000 of the £3 million purse.

"It was nice to have a chance to win a tournament", said McIlroy, whose last victory came at the Tour Championship in September a year ago. "I'm here to try to win and I hope to play well".

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"At the turn I thought if I could play the back nine in four under I would have a chance at 17 under par so I did everything that I wanted to do".

"But obviously I didn't make the Tour Championship, so needed to add one more in, and this was the obvious one".

"I think I've improved a lot mentally over the a year ago in these kind of situations".

It was a remarkable performance by McIlroy, who barely made the cut, and then produced rounds of 64 and 63 at the weekend.

Dunne's playing partner, and pre-round leader, Sweden's Robert Karlsson was a constant presence throughout the day, but couldn't keep pace with the victor.

If you're going to have your first win would you want it any other way, to be honest.

"To shoot 61 to win his first tour event, it's incredibly impressive".

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