Wednesday 29 January 2020

Lucan's O'Donovan tied for the lead after stunning round in Welsh Open

Richard O'Donovan leads the Irish charge after the first round of the Welsh Open stroke-play championship at challenging Royal Porthcawl on the South Wales coast.

The 22-year-old former East of Ireland Open Amateur Champion from Lucan (right) made the most of the benign conditions of the morning to fire a stunning five-under-par 67 and grab the early lead.

He carded four birdies in the first six holes and reached the turn in 32 before starting back with a couple of birdies.

"I was feeling good and, hopefully, the weather is decent again tomorrow and I can get a few more putts in. If I keep playing the way I did today, then I will give myself a good chance of being up there at the finish."

His 67 left him tied for the lead overnight with two Englishmen – Callum Shinkwin and Garrick Porteous – and a stroke ahead of Wales' Walker Cup star Rhys Pugh.

Jack Hume also started well and posted a 71, four shots behind O'Donovan after a morning of low scoring across the board. Hume has his mind very much on this year's Walker Cup. "I want to be on that Walker Cup team, but the squad doesn't get selected for a few months yet. hopefully, I'll do enough to get in."

Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards, is also playing at Porthcawl and he opened with a highly-creditable level-par 72. Just behind Hume going into day two are Headfort's Rory McNamara (74), who collected only one birdie all day, and his club-mate Brian Casey (75).

The 144 competitors play another round today and then the leading 36 go forward to the final 36 holes tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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