Three-pronged Irish attack advance at Royal County Down

Paula Grant (Photo: ILGU/Golffile)

Paula Grant, Anna Foster and Aine Donegan will carry home hopes as the 116th Women’s Amateur Championship was whittled down to its last-64 at Royal County Down.

With seven Irish players in the field, Elm Park’s Foster was best placed after round one and while weather conditions deteriorated overnight, Foster ground out a 75 to advance to the match play stages after amassing a three-over par in total – seeing her comfortably through four shots inside the cut mark.

That was the same score as Lisburn’s Paula Grant who, compared to some, wasn’t at all phased by the strong winds at RCD.

“I actually thought the conditions weren’t that bad today, I have definitely played in worse conditions at Royal County Down,” said Grant who plays at the Newcastle links as her secondary club.

“Knowing the course has definitely been a help this week. There are a lot of blind shots here so knowing what lines to pick and commit to them – I feel very comfortable.”

After a bogey-bogey start, some would panic, but with that comfort Grant was able to put it behind her and finish the remainder of the round under par.

“I was angry at myself after the start, I didn’t do much wrong but I re-focused, put my head down and grinded away for a few holes – I knew there were birdie opportunities coming.”

After some evening practice, Grant will meet Teresa Diez Moliner (Spain) in the last-64 at 11:38am today.

“I’m going to work on some pace putting and holing-out drills this evening, matchplay is a different mind-set to prepare for.”

Meanwhile, Lahinch’s Aine Donegan, who had stumbled to an opening 81, bounced back in four-under par in round two, leaving her on a four-over total. The Horizon Performance Panellist qualifies in 26th position and now faces Clarisse Louis (Belgium) in Thursday’s opening matches.

“I stayed much more patient today and my short game was very good, I’m really happy with where that is at the moment,” she said on what was the differing factor between her two rounds.

“Yesterday I threw so many shots away, I left a lot of shots out there and I got into trouble on too many holes. The bad holes I had were hard to come back from – it’s that type of course though and you need to place yourself around the golf course – if you do that you’ll shoot a solid score.”

Donegan birdied four of the quintet of par fives but it was the shorter holes she was conscious of focusing on the most.

“I said to myself before the round that par is a great score on the par fours – so be happy with that. Those are the holes you can build up a score on – particularly those we play as par fives in the RCD Scratch Cup.”

Donegan is planning a different angle of attack for the match play stages from Grant who likes to make a change in attitude.

“I’m going to exactly what I’ve been doing, I’ll stay patient. Especially on a course like this I think playing the course, similar to stroke play, is the best approach and see where that leaves me.”

As the cut fell at +7, the remainder of the Irish contingent sadly made their way home. Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe) added a 79 to her opening 76, Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) found it hard fought to come back from her front nine on Tuesday and finished on +13 while Mairead Martin (Kanturk) and Sara Byrne (Douglas) sat also miss out.

Full Scoring HERE