O’Donovan marks Sunshine Tour return with opening 67 at White River

Mark McGowan

Richie O'Donovan (Photo Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour)

Richie O’Donovan marked his return to the southern hemisphere with a four-under-par 67 in the opening round of the Sunshine Tour’s Gary & Vivienne Player Challenge at White River Country Club.

Having returned to his native land and competed on the Irish PGA circuit during the summer, the Lucan native, who secured conditional status at Sunshine Tour Q-School back in April, is making his first Tour start since the previous April and is hoping to secure enough points to play his way into the co-sanctioned Sunshine/DP World Tour events in the latter part of the year.

And he’s off to a solid start, making six birdies and two bogeys in his opening effort to end the day tied for 11th, four strokes off the lead. After birdies at one and four, he dropped a shot at the fifth but picked it up again at the ninth to turn at -2.


Another bogey at the 11th dropped him back to -1, but he’d birdie three of his closing seven to shoot up the leaderboard and trails leader Kyle DeBeer by four. De Beer went bogey-free and carded eight birdies to take first round leader honours, and enjoys a one stroke lead over Jean Hugo, Keenan Davidse and 14-time Sunshine Tour winner Hennie Otto.

Englishman Jack Hawksey joins O’Donovan at -4, and they are the only non-South Africans in the top 17.


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