Palmer tournament special for mother and son

Practice round allows fans to get a personal look at top golfers

Allen and Jennie Dunn. Arnold Palmer sign.
Allen and Jennie Dunn overlook the action on the 10th hole during the Arnold Palmer Invitational practice round on Tuesday in Bay Hill. (Photo by: Justin Arenburg) 

ORLANDO, Fla. — Family ties were everywhere at the Arnold Palmer Invitational practice round Tuesday at Bay Hill Club.

Just ask Allen Dunn and his mother Jennie.

Allen was originally from Memphis and now lives in Winter Garden, Florida. He sees his mother Jennie, who still lives in Tennessee, twice a year — once over Christmas and once at the signature PGA Tour event.

For the mother and son duo the tournament is about bonding. 

“He lives so far away, I enjoy every second that I’m here with him,” said Jennie, back of the driving range where some of the world’s top golfers were working on their swings.

Her son agrees.

But it’s more than just the bonding, the practice round allows them to see a different side of the golfers they won’t get during the rounds starting on Thursday.

“It just makes my whole week, it’s just fun do,” Jennie said. “You can sit where you want to sit, go where you want to go and their so friendly, they’ll sign autographs and you don’t get that during the actual tournament.”

As for Allen, he said the crowds are a lot smaller then during the rounds themselves which led to a surprise moment with a fan favourite golfer.

“The crowds are much, much smaller than it is on tournament day, so you have a lot closer access to the guys. You can really get up close and see them and talk to them. Standing right there last year I got a selfie with Jon Rahm.”

Justin and Mike Thomas look at their tablet after taking swings on the driving range during Tuesday's practice round. (Photo by: Justin Arenburg)
Justin and Mike Thomas look at their tablet after taking swings on the driving range during Tuesday’s practice round. (Photo by: Justin Arenburg)

Allen and Jennie aren’t the only family members at the Arnold Palmer this week. Justin Thomas ranked 23rd in World Golf Rankings is coached by his dad, Mike.

Thomas is one of the Dunn’s favourites on the tour.

“Just his attitude. He’s always friendly and he really enjoys the game, you can tell that when he putts.

“You know some of them don’t look like they enjoy it sometimes, but he always does.”

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Posted: Mar 6 2024 8:52 am
Filed under: Golf Sports