China based golfer Brian O’Donovan made a huge breakthrough yesterday when he won a tour card for the PGA China Tour. Brian was competing in the second qualifying tournament in the PGA backed China tour at the Mission Hills Haikou course. The former Bandon amateur opened on Friday with a 68 for a share of third place, and a solid second round saw him remain in the top five. However a one over par 73 on Saturday saw him drop to 16th, one place outside the qualifying places. After a shaky start on Sunday morning, he steadied and was one over par for his front nine. After hovering around the qualifying mark he birdied the final hole to move to two under par overall and safely inside the top 15. Now armed with a full tour card, Brian will qualify for the series of fourteen events, all based in China with the top five on the tour qualifying for the Web.com tour. There’s a run of six events starting in May with the second half kinking off in late August after a six-week break. The Bandon native was a member of the very successful team from Bandon Golf Club who won the Irish Senior Cup national title in 2010. It was a family affair for the O’Donovan’s, Brian’s Dad Donal was also on that team in Castlebar when they won the most prized team competition in Ireland.
After winning the top team event, Brian decided to pursue a full time career in golf, and enrolled in the PGA programme. Two years of study followed and Brian was based in Douglas Golf Club under Stephen Hayes while studying for his PGA qualification. Brian moved to China soon after qualifying as a PGA Professional in late 2013. While he hoped to remain competitive on the local professional tours, a knees problem ruled him out of competitive action for the best part of a year. He returned to competitive action via the qualifiers for the PGA China Tour events, while also continuing work develop as a teacher in the Mission Hills Golf Academy.