Olivia Mehaffey might be the world number eight with a string of titles to her credit but the 18-year old could not hide her delight at finally capturing the Irish Women’s Amateur Close title at Lahinch.
In what represents another boost to her confidence ahead of next month’s Curtis Cup at Dun Laoghaire, she joined the greats of the Irish game following her 1 up win over the in-form Louise Coffey from Malone in Sunday’s sun-kissed final.
‘It feels amazing to have won,” said Olivia, who lost in last year’s final to Enniscrone’s Sarah Helly. “A lot of people said the Close was a big one to win so it means the world to me. I have come close to winning it before and it feels amazing to have my name on the trophy now.”
The Royal County Down Ladies’ star had already made a magnificent start to 2016 by winning the Irish Women’s Strokeplay at the Island before finishing a shot behind the winner in her defence of the Helen Holm Scottish Women's Open Stroke Play Championship at Royal Troon.
The following week, she successfully defended the Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship at Conwy.
But this was a special win and having qualified comfortable, she took a giant step towards the title on Saturday when she beat fellow Curtis Cup player Maria Dunne from Skerries by 2 and 1.
In the semi-finals, she produced a rash of birdies to seal a 7 and 6 win over Tipperary’s Aoife Lowry as Ms Coffey ended the dream of Lahinch hope Sinead Sexton 5 and 4.
In the final Mehaffey, lost the first but won the second and fourth to go ahead and never trailed again.
One up through the turn, she lost the 11th but went one up again with a birdie at the 12th before hitting her approach to three feet at the 15th to set up a winning eagle three that left her two up with three to go.
Coffey won the short 16th in par to halve the deficit but Mehaffey took a 1 up lead to the 18th and a steady par five was enough to clinch her third championship win of the year and another boost to her confidence ahead of the Curtis Cup.
“The golf I played in the match play over the last few days is some of the best golf I’ve ever played,” she said. “I didn’t play my best during the qualifying but I proved to myself I can play well under pressure.
“I feel great going into Curtis Cup and I’m excited and ready for the challenge.”
In the Plate final for first round losers, Carlow’s Aedin Murphy beat Grange’s Elisa Corcoran 7 and 6.
Irish Women's Close Championship, Lahinch
- Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL) beat Louise Coffey (Malone) 1 up
- Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) lost to Louise Coffey (Malone) 5/4
- Aoife Lowry (Tipperary) lost to Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL) 7/6
- Aedin Murphy (Carlow) beat Elisa Corcoran (Grange) 7/6
- Anne McCormack (Naas) lost to Aedin Murphy (Carlow) 2/1
- Orla Dunphy (Kilkenny) lost to Elisa Corcoran (Grange) 3/2