As Graeme McDowell prepared to do battle in the RBC Heritage and Mourne’s Reeve Whitson got ready for his European Tour bow in the Spanish Open, Royal County Down’s Olivia Mehaffey claimed overall victory in the Faldo Series Ireland Championship at Lough Erne.
The 15-year old Ulster star shot a pair of level par 72s to win by two strokes from Castle’s Ross McKeever and secure her place in the 17th Faldo Series Grand Final later this year.
Olivia Mehaffey won the sixth Faldo Series Ireland Championship by two shots with consecutive rounds of 72 over the Faldo Course at Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland. The Ireland girls’ squad member beat 134 competitors to the title, the largest ever field for the event.
“I can’t wait to play in another final, it was a great experience last year and I had so much fun,” said a delighted Mehaffey who finished fifth in the Girls’ Under-16 division at the 2012 Grand Final. “I learnt a lot from Sir Nick during the week, hopefully I can take on even more advice this time.”
Mehaffey will be joined at the 17th Faldo Series Grand Final by Boys’ Under-18 winner Karl McCormack from Portarlington, who won a three-way play-off to qualify for the 54-hole World Amateur Golf Ranking event, hosted by Faldo at the end of the season.
Click here for overall Faldo Series results from Lough Erne
Portarlington’s McCormack (73-76) won the Boys Under 18 title after a two hole play-off with Conor Stone and Jamie Fletcher after they finished on five over par 149 while Skibbereen’s Kieran Lynch (76-75) added another Faldo Series title to his collection with a four-stroke win in the Boys Under 21 section.
The Heath’s Mary Doyle shot a superb 71 and took the Girls Under 21 medal from Ariana Coyle Diaz.
Meanwhile at El Saler near Valencia, Spanish Amateur Open winner Whitson will tee it up with Spain’s Gerard Piris Mateu and American Peter Uihlein in the Open de España.
The event marks the return to action of veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, 49, who broke his leg in a skiing accident in December.
“My leg is improving daily,” Jimenez said. “I work out every morning in the gym and I’m actually a little ahead of schedule on my rehab. I am not one hundred per cent fit, but I want to test myself and see how I feel.
“I can’t wait to be back on tour with my friends and I’d hate to miss the chance of playing at El Saler. “
He added: “I have many fond memories of El Saler. We used to play many tournaments in the 80s - I won an Under-25 in 1986. We also played two or three Campeonatos de Levante, and later on a few European Tour events. The last I played was the 2003 Seve Trophy.”
Whitson is joined in Spain by Shane Lowry, Michael Hoey, former Spanish Open winner Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane, Gareth Maybin and Q-School graduate David Higgins.