O'Donovan's hot streak in Spain
Richard O'Donovan produced one of his finest performances to grab the first-round lead in the Spanish Amateur Championship on the South course at La Manga.
The 22-year-old 2011 East of Ireland champion fired a stunning two-under-par 71 to storm into a two-stroke advantage and help Ireland take the lead in the Nations Cup. The Lucan man was the only player in the 115-strong field to beat par on a day when a strong, swirling wind made ball control very difficult.
He didn't put a foot wrong and continually peppered the pins with breathtaking shots.
"It was one of those days when things just went right. It wasn't easy, but I knew if I kept making par, I would be up with the leaders," said O'Donovan.
He goes into the second round today two strokes clear of a group of seven players including Ballymena's Dermot McElroy.
The Ireland 'A' team of O'Donovan, Reeve Whitsun and Chris Selfridge showed a clean pair of heels to their rivals. Both Selfridge from Moyola Park and Whitsun of Mourne returned highly respectable scores of 75. Jack Hume, with a 74, kept himself well in the hunt after day 1 of this 72-hole contest.
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Some big names will be missing for several crunch ties in the Leinster league this weekend, writes David Medcalf.
While the under-pressure Irish side battle to progress in the World League at Valencia, their clubs have domestic matters to attend to and 10 internationals will be absent from the clash on Saturday between Hermes and UCD in Booterstown.
College have no less than six players on duty in Spain as they seek to edge ahead of Railway Union at the top of the table.
Meanwhile, Railway – level with the students on points – must do without Ireland captain Alex Speers and midfielder Emma Smyth as they meet Loreto.
The Irish face a demanding weekend in the wake of their lacklustre defeat to Belarus on Tuesday.
They are expected to require at least a win and a draw from their remaining matches against Spain (Saturday) and Italy (Sunday).
Only the top two of the five participating nations will be invited to the next phase of the World League.
EUROPEAN junior champion Amy Broadhurst has been named in the Irish male and female side to face Germany in Youth and Junior internationals in Frankfurt tomorrow and Sunday.
The Dundalk southpaw, who turns 16 on St Patrick's Day, became the only Irish female boxer after Katie Taylor to win gold in European competition in Poland last November.
Broadhurst, whose brothers Stephen and Paul have also medalled in European competition, claimed Euro gold following a 16-15 win over Russia's Svetlana Khilchenko in Wladyslawowo.
"It will be her first bout back since winning gold in Poland and she's trained very hard for it. It's all systems go now," said her dad and coach Tony Broadhurst.
John Joyce, a gold medal winner at the 2011 European Schoolboy Championships, has also been named in a formidable-looking Irish underage squad.