Richie O'Donovan goes from nightmare to dream pro win

Richie O'Donovan shows off his swing and his cheque for €5,000. Picture via

Golf is a mystery sometimes and if you don't believe us, just ask rookie professional Richard O'Donovan about his first six weeks as a professional.

The former East of Ireland champion and Irish amateur international turned pro this summer and got off to such a slow start to his professional career that he missed his first three cuts by a combined 36 shots.

Despite securing up some recent management and financial planning expertise from the Stembridge Group, not to mention a bag sponsorship deal with, he could hardly have had high expectations going into his fourth start.

But the 23-year old from Celbridge made a mockery of his recent form and put his difficult beginnings behind him by winning in a playoff on the Pro Golf Tour (EPD Tour) in Germany on Tuesday.

A Lucan Golf Club stalwart, O'Donovan shot rounds of 72, 72 and 68 to tie with Austria's Benjamin Weilguni on five under par in the Preis des Hardenberg GolfResort in Northeim in central Germany. Scoring

He'd missed a four footer on the last that would have given him the title but won on first extra hole — an incredible turnaround after shooting rounds of 82-81, 81-75 and 75-83 to be 44 over par for his first three professional starts at Concra Wood and Mount Wolseley on the Europro Tour and the Gut Bissenmoor Classic on the Pro Golf Tour last week. 

As Matthias Lettenbichler reported for the Pro Golf Tour website:

What a perfect start into a professional career: Richard O'Donovan from Celbridge in Ireland turned pro only six weeks ago; now he already secured himself his maiden tour victory. Playing par on the 12th hole of the Hardenberg GolfResort in an evening playoff against Benjamin Weilguni from Austria he won the trophy of the second last tournament of the season plus €5000 prize money.
"It is unbelievable," O'Donovan said after making the decisive putt. Earlier today, on his 54th hole of the tournament, he had missed a four footer to go 6 under par and win straight ahead. But later he managed to make the winning putt on the 12th green, the par 3 signature hole of the Hardenberg GolfResort....

Richie O'Donovan. Picture © Richie O'Donovan/Facebook

"For O'Donovan who is coached by Neil Nanchip, it was his first playoff and only his 4th professional tournament. Last week he had also taken part at the Pro Golf Tour's Gut Bissenmoor Classic but with +16 (75+83) he had clearly missed the cut (+3). This time everything went perfect for the young Irishman and especially his tee shots went where he wanted them to go."

Next up for O'Donovan is the European Tour Qualifying School First Stage at Fleesensee in Germany from September 16-19.

Ranked 39th on the Pro Golf Tour's Order of Merit, he should also get the chance to tee it up on the German mini tour's €40,000 Deutsche Bank Polish Masters Pro Golf Tour Championship at the end of the month.