O'Donovan leads irish charge after birdie blitz
Richard O'Donovan led the Irish assault on the Scottish Open Stroke Play championship at Southerness after a splendid one-under-par 68 – just two strokes off the pace.
The 22-year-old former East of Ireland champion and Leinster Youths title holder from Lucan produced a strong finish, collecting five birdies in the last seven holes on his way home in 31.
His only real hiccup came at the ninth on which he slumped to a double-bogey six.
O'Donovan is joint second with Garrick Porteous, just two adrift of England's Nathan Kimsey, who leads the way on 66.
Cormac Sharvin from Ardglass and 20-year-old former boys international Dermot McElroy both returned first-round scores of 69 to stay well in contention.
Sharvin, last year's North of Ireland Amateur Open stroke-play champion, finished with a birdie four, while McElroy was a model of consistency, carding a bogey and birdie in each half as he put together halves of 35 and 34.
Mourne's Reeve Whitson made a complete mess of the 12th, double-bogeying it – he also posted six more bogeys in a thoroughly disappointing 75.
Rory McNamara, one of Ireland's big hopes, was a last-minute withdrawal as he was laid low by a bug.
"I have not been feeling great since the Welsh Stroke Play at Porthcawl and just could not possibly play," said the Headfort golfer, who spent yesterday – his 24th birthday – in bed.