Richard O’Donovan in action. (Archive) Mourne’s Reeve Whitson and Lucan’s Richard O’Donovan survived sweltering temperatures in Argentina to give Ireland the first round lead in the prestigious Copa Juan Carlos Tailhade at Los Lagartos Country Club near Buenos Aires.

Whitson shot a two under 69 and O’Donovan a one under 70 to give Ireland a three shot lead on three under par from New Zealand’s Joshua Munn (67) and Jordan Bakermans (75) and the Uruguayans Juan Álvarez (67) and Federico Levinsky 75. {Download individual scores here}

“I felt good even though I’m not used to this climate,” said Whitson, who was five under with three to play before he double bogeyed the 16th and bogeyed the 17th for a 69 that left him tied for fourth in the individual standings.

“I played well and made a few birdies. The key today was to drink water and stay hydrated.”

O’Donovan birdied five holes in a row from the second to get to five under but couldn’t keep it going as he doubled the eighth and bogeyed the ninth to turn in 34 before coming home in one over with bogeys at the 11th and 16th against a solitary birdie at the par-four 14th.

“We didn’t expect to be leading because this is our first event for a few months but we responded well,” O’Donovan said. “The course is in great condition and the greens are receptive. We’ll try to keep it going and see what happens.”

Former winners (since 1996)

1996 Argentina (Juan Pablo Abbate - Fernando Delía)
1997 South Africa (Trevor Immelman - Ulrich Van den Berg)
1998 Australia (Adam Scott - Kim Felton)
1999 Australia (Aaron Baddeley - Brett Rumford)
2000 England (Gary Wolstenholme - Nick Dougharty)
2001 England (Zane Scotland - David Skinns)
2002 Australia (Kurt Barnes - Luke Hickmott)
2003 England (Gary Lockerbie - Michael Skelton)
2004 Argentina (Sebastián Saavedra – Estanislao Goya)
2005 Holand (Joost Luiten - Tim Sluiter)
2006 England (Seve Benson – Edward Richardson)
2007 Australia (Rohan Blizard - Tim Stewart)
2008 Holand (Reiner Saxton - Floris de Vries)
2009 South Africa (JG Claassen - Ryan Dreyer)
2010 Finland (Miro Veijalainen - Tapio Pulkkanen)
2011 Holand (Daniël Huizing - Robin Kind)