Olivia Mehaffey tees it up in inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur today excited about the chance to become the first Irish golfer to win on the Masters course.
The event was established to inspire greater interest and participation in the women’s game, and Banbridge-born Mehaffey (21) is the only Irishwoman in the 72-strong international field at a club that didn't have women members until 2012.
"It's such a historic moment for female amateur golf and golf in general," she said. "It's crazy how far the game and women's sport has come in recent years. You wouldn't have dreamt of things like this happening ten years ago."
After two rounds at Champions Retreat Golf Club, 15 miles from Augusta, only the top 30 qualify for Saturday's final round at Augusta National, though the entire field will get to play a practice round on the Masters course on Friday.
"I always watched the Masters growing up — Amen Corner, Tiger's chip trickling in on 16,” Mehaffey said after firing a career-low 65 en route to sixth place in the PING/ASU Invitational at the weekend.
“It’s surreal to think I’ll be playing there. But I’m just focussing on getting through the first two rounds at Champions Retreat."
Dreaming of a win at Augusta, she said: "That would be exciting! I'm really happy where my game is at. It's the best I've ever hit it.
"I’m just so grateful to be here. It’s exciting."
Need a golf lesson? Check out the GUI National Golf Academy for all you need to get Better Golf. With a 22 acre driving range and many PGA Professionals, they cater for all abilities. Book your golf lessons now.