Irish women’s amateur golf is arguably the strongest in the world after Royal County Down Ladies’ Olivia Mehaffey closed with a level par 73 to retain the Welsh Open Ladies Amateur Stroke Play by five shots.
With Irish team mate Jessica Ross taking second and recent Curtis Cup selection Maria Dunne tied for ninth, it was another superb week for the ILGU's High Performance panel.
With two players in the world’s Top 10 — a feat matched only by the USA and Spain — Irish women after flying high in the world game.
World No 1 Leona Maguire and No 9 Mehaffey were joined in the Curtis Cup side by the ever improving Dunne, who snuck into ninth at Conwy as she recovered from an opening 86 with solid rounds of 72 and 74.
With Donaghadee and Queens University talent Ross carding a best-of-the-day, one under 72 to take solo second on six over par and with Lahinch's Sinead Sexton, the first round leader, coming home in 16th, it appears to be only a matter of time Irish amateur golf has a few new stars as the teenagers gain experience in the underage ranks.
For Mehaffey it was an immensely satisfying result having been pipped at the post in her defence of the Helen Holm Scottish Ladies Strokeplay at Royal Troon just a week ago.
Set for Arizona State University on a golf scholarship later this year, she’s determined to become world amateur No 1 and appears destined to make it soon with Leona likely to make the move into the professional ranks sooner rather than later.
Olivia's victory was her fifth in a major amateur championship in just over a year as she followed triumphs in the Irish Under 18 Strokeplay, the Helen Holm and Welsh Ladies last season with a win just two weeks ago in the Irish Women’s Open Strokeplay at The Island.
Given that Rory McIlroy has won “just” four times since February 2015, it's fair to say that the Royal County Down Ladies' star is the most dominant Irish golfer on the planet right now.
Welsh Open Ladies Amateur Stroke Play, Conwy (Par 73) Final
- 1 MEHAFFEY, Olivia RCD Ladies +1 79 68 73 220
- 2 ROSS, Jessica Queens Sport +6 80 73 72 225
- 9 DUNNE, Maria Skerries +13 86 72 74 232
- T16 SEXTON, Sinéad Lahinch +19 77 81 80 238
- T21 THOMSON, Rachel Cork +20 80 81 78 239
- T37 BURKE, Shannon Ballinrobe/MU +25 85 77 82 244
- MC RYAN, Chloe Castletroy +28 90 84 174