Olivia Mehaffey is hoping to make the most of another exciting but unexpected Major appearance when she tees up later today for round one of the US Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club.
The Royal County Down and Tandragee amateur flies the flag for Ireland solo this week – as things stand – with Leona Maguire now first reserve ahead of the final Major on the 2020 golfing calendar. 23-year old Mehaffey is no stranger to Major competition with this her second US Women’s Open start and third Major of the year. And with much of her amateur calendar cut short in her now fifth year at Arizona State due to Covid-19, Mehaffey, who hasn’t been seen in competition since making her first ever Major weekend at the ANA Inspiration back in September, has been putting in the work behind the scenes to ensure she’s ready to take her chance and compete this week in Houston.
“To get another opportunity is definitely exciting,” said Mehaffey. “I kind of thought the season was over after the ANA so to have this event and the Palmer Cup coming up as well has been one of the main reasons I’ve put so much work into the last two months. I’ve made a lot of changes to get ready for this so hopefully I can go and compete and it should be a lot of fun.”
With the top-20 on the women’s world amateur golf rankings earning invites into the final Major of the year, Mehaffey was again able to rely upon her standing in the women’s amateur charts. An ever-present inside the top-20 on the rankings over the last five years, the fact that the Northern Irishwoman has been personally disappointed with her own performances of late but remains such a leading figure in the amateur game highlights the abundance of talent that she’ll hope to soon bring to the professional circuit.
“For me, my game hasn’t been where I would like for probably the last year,” Mehaffey admitted. “I played really well my Junior year, had three wins. Honestly, for the last year I haven’t been happy with my results or where my game is at so to still be up there is great. I think I’ve been inside the top-20 for the last five years and I’m really proud of that.”
Mehaffey plays the first two rounds with Americans Lindsey Weaver and Annie Park with two courses in operation this week in Texas. To account for reduced daylight given the move to December, the Jackrabbit Course at Champions Golf Club will be used in conjunction with the Cypress Creek Course, which was originally stated to host all four rounds of championship play.
Mehaffey will have her Assistant Coach at ASU, Michelle Estill guiding her around a course she was unfamiliar with prior to this week but together with Estill, it sounds like whatever the layout throws at the Sun Devil pair this week in Houston, they are going to enjoy every minute of the challenge.
“It’s great to have Michelle out there with me,” Mehaffey said. “Michelle caddied for me at the US Amateur a couple of years ago and I played really good there so it should be a lot of fun. She knows my game so well. She watches me practice all the time and when we compete so she knows me inside out and she’s so much fun. We’re always laughing, not taking ourselves too serious so that should stand me in good stead as well.”
- Mehaffey tees off today (Thurs) at 15.31, Irish time
- Full tee times HERE
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