Richie O’Donovan fired a four-under round of 67 to make his way into the top-10 at the final stage of Sunshine Tour Q-School at Heron Banks Golf and River Resort, placing the former East of Ireland and Irish Amateur champion well within the all-important top-20 on the leaderboard.
With just 20 Sunshine Tour cards available, rounds of 72 and 69 on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively had seen the Lucan native well-positioned just outside the cut-off mark in a tie for 21st, but only one player went lower than O’Donovan in round three and he now enjoys a three-stroke advantage over the four-way tie for 19th.
Beginning his day with pars at one and two, a birdie at the par-3 third got the round going, but back-to-back bogeys at five and six halted his early momentum, before another birdie at nine got him back to level-par for the day.
With scoring proving difficult for most of the field for the third day in succession, a back-nine blitz by O’Donovan saw him record birdies at 10, 11, 14 and 18, dropping no shots and signing for a four-under that lifted him to a five-way tie for eighth, and to within touching distance of earning playing status on the Sunshine Tour for 2023/24.
American Hunter Epson shares the 54-hole lead with local man Sean Cronje. Epson’s 66 was the only score to beat O’Donovan’s on the day and they share a two-stroke advantage over Jonathan Broomhead, Stuart Krog and Gerhard Trystsman in a three-way tie for third.
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