Special Year for Lee Valley

Lee Valley Feature_1It was a busy year for Lee Valley, but one that they will remember.   2018 marked the 25th anniversary for the club, and while everyone celebrated the milestone the club also went on to win their first Cups and Shields pennant.  From the celebrations in January, through to the AGM this month, the club pulled together to celebrate.  This time last year the club made Lee Valley owner Jerry Keohane and honorary Life President of the Club, and it was an honour that was very much appreciated by Jerry.   He was involved in the consortium who purchased the land and commissioned Christy O’Connor Jnr to design the course.  Jerry and his family would later take over full control of the Clashnure venture, and since then they have continued to develop and improve the course with a consistent focus on presenting a championship experience for every golfer.  Lee Valley remains a Continue reading

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China Tour Card for Brian O’Donovan

Brian O'Donovan Feb 2017_3China 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.

Brian O'Donovan Feb 2017_2After 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.

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No Joy for Cork Golfers

Tom ClearyThere was no joy today for the seniors who were playing in the Irish Seniors Open Championship in Co Tipperary, and Brian O’Donovan also failed to secure a full card in the PGA China final qualifying.

Holder Tom Cleary was among the local hopefuls in action but he couldn’t match the results of 2016 and rounds of 78,76,78 saw him finish just inside the top 20.  Not much of a consolation but he was the highest placed golfer from Cork after the three rounds.  Doneraile’s Tahg Heenan opened with a disappointing 81 on Wednesday but closed with two rounds of 76 to finish one shot behind Cleary and inside the top 30.  Micheal Quirke had threatened the lead on day one after shooting a 73 but rounds of 79 yesterday and 82 today saw him drop out of contention.  Kinsale’s Jerry Crean was the only other Cork golfer to make the cut and he finished one shot behind Quirke.  The winner was Wales Nicholas Grimmitt who finished on +7 to edge out Tramore’s John Mitchell by one shot.

Bandon’s Brian O’Donovan was in action in the final round of qualifying at the PGA China Tour School this morning.  O’Donovan had been hoping to claim on of the 16 full tour cards on offer after posting rounds of 71/72/70.  The wheels came off on the final round however and O’Donovan shot a 77 to finish outside the qualifiers.  In the past O’Donovan has used Monday qualifying to gain entry into some of the events, the Shenzen based professional is a Lead Instructor at one of the Mission Hills Academies in Shenzen.

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O’Donovan on track in Yunnan, PGA China Tour Qualifying

Brian O'Donovan

Brian O’Donovan in Senior Cup Action in 2010

Brian O’Donovan shot a second round 72 to stay one under par and inside the top at PGA China Q School this morning.  Having opened with a one under par 71 yesterday, the Bandon native was in control again and is currently tied for 16th place.  More importantly he’s only two shots away from the top 12 which would see him claim a full tour card for the China tour. On the course O’Donovan had drifted to +2 through 10 holes but a few birdies on the back nine saw him sign for a 72.  O’Donovan has played in several events over the past three years, mainly gaining access to tournaments through the Monday qualifier.  If O’Donovan can move into the top 12 he’ll have access to all twelve tour events that are scheduled this season.  O’Donovan has two more rounds to make an impression on the field and with plenty of under par scores on the course today he’ll know that there’s an opportunity to go low in his final 36 holes.

PGA China Tour – Qualifying Live Scoring

O’Donovan has been based in China for well over three years now.  After gaining his full PGA qualification he took up a teaching role at the Million Hills Golf Complex in Schenzen and now holds the role of Lead Instructor at one of their three Academies.  As an amateur O’Donovan was part of the Bandon team that won the Munster double in the Barton Shield and Irish Senior Cup.  Bandon went on to win a national title in the Senior Cup and soon after Brian started his PGA training under Stephen Hayes in Douglas Golf Club.

Mission Hills Brian O’ Donovan shoots magical 59

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O’Donovan well placed after opening round in PGA Tour China event

Brian O'DonovanBandon native Brian O’Donovan shot an opening round of 69 to finish in the top 20 at the Clearwater Bay Open in Hong Kong.  O’Donovan is competing in his first PGA Tour China event this season and is very well placed in the field of 120 golfers.  He’s three shots off the lead on one under par.  The Mission Hills senior instructor had two bogies and three birdies on the front nine and he followed that with nine pars on the way back.

Brian’s senior teaching role at the Dongguan Academy in Million Hills means that he’s had very little time to play golf this season, but he took advantage of this opportunity and finished third in Monday’s qualifier to make it into the tournament.

Scoring: Clearwater Bay Open, PGA Tour China

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Mission Hills Brian O’ Donovan shoots magical 59

(Article from June 2015, translated version courtesy of Donal O’Donovan)

When “San Ge”, Mr. Liu Yongsan met with Irish Golf Instructor Brian O’Donovan after their round instead of calling him by his name, he addressed him respectfully as “Mr. 59” in Chinese, which refers to Brian’s excellent performance during the Mission Hills Day/Night Golf Tournament held on the Annika Course at Dongguan, Mission Hills on the June 27th 2015.

Brian O'Donovan 59

Mr. Iain Roberts (Master PGA Professional & Master Instructor MHGA), Mr. Tenniel Chu (Owner, Mission Hills), and Brian O’ Donovan.

 

During this round, Brian created a piece of history by shooting 59 (13 under par) in a round that consisted of 2 Eagles, 9 Birdies and 7 pars.  This completely impressed “San Ge”, a mission hills member who was playing in the same group. Even now, when Liu Yongsan recalls Brian’s stunning play he is full of praise. “There is a 59 Club with no more than 10 people joining in Continue reading

O’Donovan’s China Challenge

Bandon’s Brian O’Donovan is a busy man, building his career in China.  Having moved there a few months ago he popped up on the PGA Tour China last weekend.  The competition was the Buick Open, and  Brian made the entry list thanks to a qualifier earlier in the week.  He travelled from his base in Shenzhen to Guangdong to try his hand on the Asian arm of the PGA Tour. Continue reading