While it’s said that the key to happiness is a bad memory several member of the European side that recorded that sensational Solheim Cup victory over the United States last September might beg to differ.
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, who led Europe’s final day charge by winning the opening singles, was obviously feeding off the good vibrations of that rain-soaked day when she carded seven birdies in her last eight holes for a 67 that left at the head of affairs in the Ladies Irish Open on five under par.
Playing in brilliant afternoon sunshine, the 42-year old from Edinburgh started at the 10th and went to the turn in one over par when she followed a birdie at the 15th with back to back bogeys at the 17th and 18th.
But she was simply sensational on the long and soft parkland layout as she came home in 30 blows - six under the card.
After a par at the first she birdied the next four, bogeyed the par-three sixth and then birdied the last three to lead by a stroke from Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden on five under par with Englands’s Felicity Johnson alone in third after a 69
“It was very strange, actually,” Matthew said. “I played very steadily on the front nine and then just had a silly three-putt on 18 for a bogey.
“I made a good par on the first and then had seven birdies on the next eight holes and one bogey so it was kind of a strange nine but I’ll take it. It’s always nice when you see the putts dropping in.”
Defending champion Suzann Pettersen, who opened with a 71 last year before adding rounds of 63 and 64 for a six shot win, had to settle for a level par 72 this time around.
The crowds were enthusiastic yet she could not help but be transported back to last September, when she birdied her last three holes in the singles to beat Michelle Wie and spark Europe’s late victory charge.
“I kept looking for my team mates out there! They weren’t there,” she said with a smile. “It was a bit weird when I finished on nine, to walk from there to the 10th.
“A year ago it was packed and everyone was cheering you on and giving you a high five. The crowd was there but it wasn’t the same.”
Pettersen was playing with four-time champion Sophie Gustafson, who is tied for fourth after a 70, and 17-year old Cavan amateur Leona Maguire.
However it was a day to forget for the Slieve Russell twin and her sister Lisa on a course that was playing long and tough.
While Leona slipped slowly to an 80, Lisa signed for an 85 in the afternoon and withdrew with a wrist injury.
Leona, however, hopes to battle back after short-siding herself too many times and putting poorly by her standards.
“It was a frustrating towards the end because I played pretty solid on the front nine and it just got away on the back nine,” she said.
Asked if she learned anything from her playing partners, she smiled wryly and said: “If I’d have played the way they played, I’d have been ok.”
It was a disappointing day all round for the Irish with Royal County Down’s Danielle McVeigh just inside the projected cut mark despite dropping three shots in her last four holes for a 76.
While Tara Delaney managed a battling, five over 77, Carlow neighbour Rebecca Codd had two double bogeys and a triple bogey eight in an 80 that left her tied for 96th.
Solheim Cup star Melissa Reid tearfully withdrew for personal reasons after just eight holes.
The English girl tragically lost her mother Joy in a car crash earlier this summer - just nine months after they were together at Killeen Castle for Europe’s Solheim Cup victory.
Ladies Irish Open supported by Fáilte Ireland , Killeen Castle (Par 72)
67 Catriona Matthew (SCO)
68 Pernilla Lindberg (SWE)
69 Felicity Johnson (ENG)
70 Sophie Gustafson (SWE), Rachel Bailey (AUS), Anja Monke (DEU), Elizabeth Bennett (ENG), Caroline Westrup (SWE)
71 Charley Hull (ENG), Carly Booth (SCO)
72 Kylie Walker (SCO), Ursula Wikstrom (FIN), Joanna Klatten (FRA), Giulia Sergas (ITA), Suzann Pettersen (NOR)
73 Marianne Skarpnord (NOR), Jennie Lee (USA), Gwladys Nocera (FRA), Lucy Williams (ENG), Sophie Giquel-bettan (FRA), Dewi Claire Schreefel (NLD), Nikki Garrett (AUS), Jodi Ewart (ENG), Alison Walshe (USA), Stefania Croce (ITA)
74 Margherita Rigon (ITA), Esther Choe (USA), Alison Whitaker (AUS), Hannah Burke (ENG), Connie Chen (ZAF), Caroline Afonso (FRA), Beth Allen (USA), Julieta Granada (PAR), Marieke Nivard (NLD), Carlota Ciganda (ESP), Karen Stupples (ENG), Laura Davies (ENG), Julie Greciet (FRA), Meaghan Francella (USA), Lindsey Wright (AUS), Miriam Nagl (DEU), Caroline Masson (DEU)
75 Marjet Van Der Graaff (NLD), Virginie Lagoutte-clement (FRA), Amelia Lewis (USA), Linda Wessberg (SWE), Carin Koch (SWE), Jade Schaeffer (FRA), Line Vedel (DNK), Stacey Keating (AUS), Liebelei Lawrence (LUX), Lee-Anne Pace (ZAF), Steffi Kirchmayr (DEU), Anais Maggetti (CHE), Elin Emanuelsson (SWE), Diana Luna (ITA)
76 Danielle Mcveigh (IRL), Mireia Prat (ESP), Holly Aitchison (ENG), Celine Palomar (FRA), Klara Spilkova (CZE), Sahra Hassan (WAL), Clare Queen (SCO)
77 Sharmila Nicollet (IND), Louise Larsson (SWE), Tara Delaney (IRL), Caroline Rominger (CHE), Eleanor Givens (ENG), Trish Johnson (ENG), Florentyna Parker (ENG), Alexandra Vilatte (FRA), Becky Morgan (WAL), Lucie Andre (FRA), Georgina Simpson (ENG), Danielle Montgomery (ENG), Stacy Lee Bregman (ZAF), Stefanie Michl (AUT)
78 Laurette Maritz (ZAF), Malene Jorgensen (DNK), Lisa Holm Sorensen (DNK), Anne-Lise Caudal (FRA), Rebecca Hudson (ENG), Minea Blomqvist (FIN), Becky Brewerton (WAL), Caroline Martens (NOR), Rebecca Artis (AUS), Allison Micheletti (USA), Ashleigh Simon (ZAF), Vikki Laing (SCO), Lynnette Brooky (NZL), Rachel Jennings (ENG)
79 Karen Lunn (AUS), Sophie Sandolo (ITA), Cassandra Kirkland (FRA), Charlotte Ellis (ENG)
80 Julie Maisongrosse (FRA), Kiran Matharu (ENG), Helen Alfredsson (SWE), Leona Maguire (IRL), Lydia Hall (WAL), Rebecca Codd (IRL), Laura Cabanillas (ESP), Chrisje De Vries (NLD), Emma Cabrera-bello (ESP), Titiya Plucksataporn (THA), Zuzana Kamasova (SVK), Stephanie Na (AUS)
81 Henrietta Zuel (ENG), Mikaela Parmlid (SWE), Frances Bondad (AUS), Sophie Walker (ENG), Maria Beautell (ESP)
82 Nicole Gergely (AUT), Bree Arthur (AUS), Jenni Kuosa (FIN), Kyra Van Leeuwen (NLD)
83 Kym Larratt (ENG), Tania Elosegui (ESP), Tandi Cuningham (ZAF), Veronica Zorzi (ITA), Jessica Yadloczky (USA)
84 Sarah Kemp (AUS)
85 Lisa Maguire (IRL), Elisabeth Esterl (DEU)
88 Yu Yang Zhang (CHN)
RTD Melissa Reid (ENG)
WD Lisa Maguire (85)