Winning takes care of everything for Paula Grant
 Paula Grant (Lisburn) after her victory at the 2017 Irish Women's Close Amateur Championship at Mullingar Golf Club (25/065/2017). Picture by Pat Cashman

Paula Grant (Lisburn) after her victory at the 2017 Irish Women's Close Amateur Championship at Mullingar Golf Club (25/065/2017). Picture by Pat Cashman

It's a long way from Mullingar to Quaker Ridge but Lisburn's Paula Grant took another small step on the road to Curtis Cup selection next year when she won her second Irish Women's Close title in five years.

The 23-year old beat Ennis’ Sarah Cunningham 4 and 3 in the semi-finals before coming back from two down with seven to play to defeat up-and-coming Hermitage star Ciara Casey by 3 and 1 in the decider.

She knows that getting that winning habit is the key to a GB&I call up.

“I’m absolutely chuffed, I can’t believe it really, it hasn’t really sunk in yet but it feels good,” said Grant, a trained optometrist, after adding to her 2013 'Close' win over Lisa Maguire at Ballybunion.

 Paula Grant (Lisburn) driving at the 15th in the final of the 2017 Irish Women's Close Amateur Championship at Mullingar Golf Club (25/065/2017). Picture by  Pat Cashman

Paula Grant (Lisburn) driving at the 15th in the final of the 2017 Irish Women's Close Amateur Championship at Mullingar Golf Club (25/065/2017). Picture by Pat Cashman

“I felt more expectation this time but I felt a bit more in control as well, I just felt like I was a better golfer this time around. It feels different but still feels as good.”

Casey beat Mary Dowling 2 and 1 in the morning and went two up with wins at the 10th and 11th in the final before Grant's greater experience told down the stretch.

Showing the ball-striking qualities that made her the leading qualifier and a quarter-finalist in the recent Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship, she birdied the 12th and 13th to level the match, won the 14th and 15th to go two up with three to play and eventually clinched the title with another birdie at the tough 17th.

“I’ve absolutely loved the golf course, it was set up so well and the greens are lovely, they were getting faster and faster every day," Grant said. 

"My home course, Lisburn, is a parkland too so I knew the course was going to suit me as you just had to keep it straight off the tee and putt well which is what I did.”

With Leona Maguire, Olivia Mehaffey, Maria Dunne and Annabel Wilson heading away on Vagliano Trophy duty for Great Britain and Ireland this week, Grant knows what she had to make the side for next year's Curtis Cup at Quaker Ridge.

"Obviously, I'd love to be part of that," said Paula, who lost to world No 1 and eventual champion Leona Maguire in the quarter-finals of the British Open two weeks ago.  

"But if I focus on each tournament as it comes, that shouldn't be in my head. If I do that, hopefully, it will all fall into place. You have to win certain events and make yourself a certainty for the team so you don't have to worry about a pick. That's going to be my focus.

"I played Leona in the quarters at the British and I was happy enough. I have played quite well in most tournaments but one thing might have let me down. 

"I might not have putted well or hit the driver well. So it was nice to have to all come together in one of the biggest tournaments. To make a team like the Curtis Cup it is about winning events. If I can take care of that, it's not something I will have to think about."

In the Ita Wallace Plate Trophy for first round losers, Castletroy's Chloe Ryan beat Hermitage's Kate Lanigan 4 and 2.

Irish Women's Close Championship, Mullingar Golf Club


Ciara Casey (Hermitage) lost to Paula Grant (Lisburn) 3&1

Semi Finals

  • Mary Dowling (New Ross) lost to Ciara Casey (Hermitage) 2&1
  • Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) lost to Paula Grant (Lisburn) 4&3

 Quarter Finals

  1. Maria Dunne (Skerries) lost to Mary Dowling (New Ross) 4&3
  2. Ciara Casey (Hermitage) beat Valerie Clancy (Killarney) 4&3
  3. Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) beat Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) 2&1
  4. Paula Grant (Lisburn) beat Lisa O’Shea (Shannon) 2&1

Last 16 

  1. Mairead Martin (Kanturk) lost to Maria Dunne (Skerries) 4&3
  2. Ariana Coyle Diez (Elm Park) lost to Mary Dowling (New Ross) 1down
  3. Ciara Casey (Hermitage) beat Sara Byrne (Douglas) 1up
  4. Valerie Clancy (Killarney) beat Eleanor Metcalfe (Laytown & Bettystown) 4&3
  5. Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) beat Maeve Cummins (Lurgan) 19th
  6. Rachel Thompson (Cork) lost to Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) 1 down
  7. Paula Grant (Lisburn) beat Orla Dunphy (Kilkenny) 6&5
  8. Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) lost to Lisa O’Shea (Shannon) 2&1

Ita Wallace Plate


Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) beats Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) 4&2


  1. Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) beat Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe) 5&3
  2. Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) lost to Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) 1 hole 

Quarter Finals

  1. Paula Walsh (Doneraile) lost to Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) 4&2
  2. Alice Hutchinson (St. Anne’s) lost to Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe) 7&5
  3. Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) lost to Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) 2 holes
  4. Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) beat Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) 19th 

Last 16

  1. Paula Walsh (Doneraile) beat Clodagh Walsh (Castlewarden/MU) 2&1
  2. Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) beat Louise Coffey (Malone) W/O
  3. Anna Dawson (Tramore) lost to Alice Hutchinson (St. Anne’s) 8&6
  4. Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe/MU) beat Aine Donegan (Woodstock) 2&1
  5. Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) beat Meadhbh Doyle (Portarlington/MU) 1up
  6. Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) beat Kate Dwyer (Rossmore) 5&4
  7. Roisin Brady (Co. Louth) lost to Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) 4&2
  8. Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) beat Aoife Lowry (Tipperary) 3&2

First Round

  1. Mairead Martin (Kanturk) beat Paula Walsh (Doneraile) 3&2
  2. Maria Dunne (Skerries) beat Clodagh Walsh (Castlewarden/MU) 4&3
  3. Ariana Coyle Diez (Elm Park) beat Chloe Ryan (Castletroy/UCD) 4&3    
  4. Mary Dowling (New Ross) beat Louise Coffey (Malone) 6&5
  5. Ciara Casey (Hermitage) beat Anna Dawson (Tramore) 4&3   
  6. Sara Byrne (Douglas) beat Alice Hutchinson (St. Anne's) 2&1   
  7. Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe/MU) lost to Valerie Clancy (Killarney) 3&1  
  8. Aine Donegan (Woodstock) lost to Eleanor Metcalfe (Laytown & Bettystown) 22nd     
  9. Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) beat Emma Forbes (Royal Portrush) 2&1    
  10. Meadhbh Doyle (Portarlington/MU) lost to Maeve Cummins (Lurgan) 4&3   
  11. Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) lost to Rachel Thompson (Cork) 2&1  
  12. Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) beat Kate Dwyer (Rossmore) 3&2   
  13. Paula Grant (Lisburn) beat Roisin Brady (Co. Louth) 5&4
  14. Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) lost to Orla Dunphy (Kilkenny) 3&1
  15. Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) beat Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) 19th
  16. Lisa O'Shea (Shannon) beat Aoife Lowry (Tipperary) 19th