Irish women’s golf is set for take off over the next few years with the likes of world amateur No 6 Stephanie Meadow and the Maguire twins Lisa and Leona tipped for big things when they inevitably take the plunge into the professional ranks
Right now our young guns are battling to make their name on the international amateur circuit and a win in the Irish Women’s Open Amateur Strokeplay which begins at Castle Golf Club today would offer a major springboard to the ambitions of players such as Royal County Down Ladies’ Olivia Mehaffey.
The talented 16 year old has been on fire so far this season, winning the Faldo Junior Series Ireland event at Lough Erne and the Irish Girls Open Strokeplay before finishing an impressive sixth in the Helen Holm Scottish Amateur Open at Royal Troon last month.
A top performance at the scenic Rathfarnham track would make Mehaffey a hot favourite to make this year’s Great Britain and Ireland side for the Junior Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe at Chantilly Golf Club in France.
The matches take place from June 28-29 with the sides scheduled to be named on June 18.
With Meadow in action for her college in the US and the Maguire twins taking school exams, Curtis Cup heroine Amy Boulden from Wales is the hot favourite to win the 54-hole Irish Women’s Open Strokeplay title at Castle.
Boulden is one of the few “probables” to be selected on the GB&I Vagliano Trophy team but will face stiff competition from the likes of Mehaffey, the in-form Paula Grant from Lisburn and Castletroy’s Chloe Ryan.
Strong early season form also bodes well for Holywood’s Jessica Carty, Skerries’ Maria Dunne and Carlow’s Aédín Murphy though the 61-strong field features top international with Boulden as well as five Scottish and seven English raiders in the field.
The top 40 after today’s opening 36 holes will qualify for tomorrow morning’s final round with Ireland rated favourites to defend the Nations Cup after defeating England, Scotland and Wales last year.
Irish Women’s Open Strokeplay, Castle GC
1st 10th Tee
07:40 13:10 Róisín Brady (Co. Louth) Meadhbh Doyle (Portarlington)
07:50 13:20 Eilidh Briggs (SCO) Maria Dunne (Skerries) Lisa O’Shea (Shannon)
08:00 13:30 Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe) Rachel Taylor (Laytown & Bettystown) Victoria Craig (Clandeboye)
08:10 13:40 Jessica Wilcox (ENG) Paula Grant (Lisburn) Samantha Fuller (ENG)
08:20 13:50 Daisy-May Kenny (ENG) Carla Reynolds (Seapoint) Victoria Bradshaw (Bangor)
08:30 14:00 Hannah McCook (SCO) Clíodhna McCarthy (Stackstown) Louise Mernagh (Woodenbridge)
08:40 14:10 Meghan Maclaren (ENG) Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) Deirdre Smith (Co. Louth)
08:50 14:20 Amy Boulden (WAL) Rachel Walker (SCO) Olivia Mehaffey (RCD Ladies)
09:00 14:30 Clara Teixeira (BRA) Amy Farrell (Moate) Ariana Coyle Diez (Elm Park)
09:10 14:40 Nathalie Rodrigues da Silva (BRA) Jessica Carty (Holywood) Jessica Meek (SCO)
10th 1st Tee
07:40 13:10 Louise Hanratty (Mannan Castle) Jenny Maguire (Foxrock)
07:50 13:20 Lesley Atkins (SCO) Gillian O’Leary (The Island) Emma O’Driscoll (Ballybunion)
08:00 13:30 Maria Beaton (Castle) Hayley Mackay (ENG) Ruth Maguire (Corrstown)
08:10 13:40 Sarah Jane Boyd (ENG) Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) Karen Delaney (Carlow)
08:20 13:50 Samantha Giles (ENG) Mary Doyle (The Heath) Jessica Ross (Donaghadee)
08:30 14:00 Holly Robinson (Co. Sligo) Claire Keating (Killarney) Sophie Harrison (Sutton)
08:40 14:10 Laura Doherty (Howth) Sarah Boden (Kilkeel) Zoe Allen (Lurgan)
08:50 14:20 Daisy MacVe (ENG) Chloe Weir (Shandon Park) Niamh McSherry (Lurgan)
09:00 14:30 Kirsty Beckwith (ENG) Niamh Ward (Lurgan) Gemma McCarthy (Clonmel)
09:10 14:40 Áedín Murphy (Carlow) Louise Coffey (Malone) Sinead Sexton (Lahinch)
09:20 14:50 Gertie McMullen (The Island) Aoife Lowry (Tipperary) Patrice Delaney (Birr)