Paul Dunne held off Rory McIlroy to lift the British Masters trophy on Sunday. Photo: @EuropeanTour via Twitter

LONDON – Ireland’s Paul Dunne won his first European Tour title by edging Rory McIlroy into second place at the British Masters, thanks to a nine-under-par 61 in Sunday’s final round.

Dunne reached the turn in five-under, but then suffered heavy pressure when McIlroy birdied five of the last seven holes at Close House.

The 24-year-old Dunne did not buckle, though, and holed four birdies of his own on the back nine to win by three shots on 20-under-par.

Dunne said: “It feels great. I feel like I’ve been up there a few times and never put my foot down to win it. I have come close, so it’s nice to put the demon off my back and get my first one.”

McIlroy has now finished runner-up twice in 2017 and is facing only the second winless season of his career.

The Northern Irishman said: “It was just nice to have a chance to win a golf tournament. I think that was the big thing, and the more chances I have like that, I seem to play better.”

Overnight leader Robert Karlsson finished third, four shots back, after managing only a four-under 66 in the final round.