From small town Okeechobee, Gator golfer Richard Donegan says going to school in Gainesville is just like being home. However, Donegan’s collegiate golf career did not start at the University of Florida.
Donegan is a transfer student from Florida Atlantic University. During his freshman season, he was the leading scorer on the team with an average score of 73.1 and tied for the most rounds played in a season (29). Still, Donegan couldn’t pass up the opportunity he had at UF.
“The legacy that Coach (Buddy) Alexander has really stands out compared to other schools that I was talking to. I feel like this is the best opportunity to get better over the next few years, I just wanted to take a chance and this is where I’m at now,” he says. He has already made it onto the World Amateur Golf Ranking list; after college, he is hoping to play professionally on the PGA Tour.
Donegan began golfing at a young age. He said that his Mom and Dad were the reason for his success early on, even if it cost his dad some course time.
“My parents didn’t necessarily play golf that much, but when they did my Dad definitely took me out on some courses and sometimes got kicked off because of me, being a little kid. Then when I was in eighth and ninth grade we moved right next to a golf course, and in your free time when you can’t drive yet you just have to go out and find something to do and that was golf for me.”
In high school, Donegan played three or four months out of the year; he also played baseball until his senior year when he focused on golf, and it truly paid off. He won the Class 2A state championship, and he was the only golfer to finish at an even par during the tournament.
When asked if he had any pre-match rituals that help him score so well, he said he’s not really a “freaky guy.” Just like anyone else though, he has his superstitions. “I always eat the same breakfast whenever we play in the morning: a couple eggs over medium, some sausage, and always some chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is essential.”
Donegan has been already been a huge asset to the Gator golf team, earning the best score in their first event of the season; his hopes are high for his first season as a Gator.
“Hopefully we can compete for a national title, that’s everybody’s goal- get the SEC and national title.”