Richie O’Donovan followed up his opening 67 with a level-par 71 in round two of the Sunshine Tour’s Gary and Vivienne Player Challenge at White River Golf and Country Club to make it safely through to the final round.
But the Lucan man will be left ruing a poor start which effectively ended any hopes of a first Sunshine Tour victory and left him considerable work to do to make it through to the third and final round.
Starting on the 10th, for the second successive day he bogeyed the par-5 11th and on this occasion, compounded the error by making a triple-bogey-six at the par-3 12th. After dropping four strokes in his opening three holes, O’Donovan regrouped and parred his way to the par-5 16th where he’d make his first birdie of the day and followed up with another at the par-3 17th and he’d make the turn at +2 for the day and -2 for the tournament.
He’d birdie three more on the front, with a bogey at the last the lone dropped shot and his level-par round leaves him at -4 for the tournament and tied for 30th.
“It was just one of those rounds where I gave myself a lot of chances,” O’Donovan said after his round, “and the low one was in it today. I feel like I played equally well [as yesterday], I just got off to such a terrible start.
“This week’s course is at altitude so the ball is going about 7% further. It’s quite firm so the ball is running out to about 330 or 360 yards. So the course is playing quite short. It’s a tree-lined course. It’s Kikuyu grass, so it’s a very wiry type of style, and look, the greens aren’t the best so it’s a bit of a hit and miss whether the ball is going to go in the hole or not.
“So I’m just focused on actually trying to hit good puts and for the majority, I’ve been hitting some really good shots overall, I’ve probably hit like two or three bad shots.”
O’Donovan has an experienced caddie on the bag this week as well, and one he’s gelling extremely well with and, flying back to Belgium next week for DP World Tour Q-School in Belgium, should he advance then he’ll ask the caddie to accompany him on the next trip.
“Yeah, I’ve got one of Ernie Else’s old caddies on the bag,” he said, “and he’s actually really, really good, so yeah, if I get into the second stage or final stage, I’ll definitely try and take him with me.”
South African Kyle DeBeer backed up his opening 63 with a second-round 65 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round, with Dylan Naidoo in second on -12.