Royal County Down and Tandragee amateur Olivia Mehaffey fired a stunning eight-under round of 64 to take a two stroke lead into the weekend of the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic.
Rounds of 69 and 64 have seen the Arizona State star race to 11-under par, no surprise given this performance comes hot on the heels of a school-record 62 at the Clover Cup last week, played at the same venue in Longbow Club in Mesa where Olivia finished second individually behind her teammate Linn Grant.
“I hadn’t played here in a couple of years,” Mehaffey said, who’s taking full advantage of an invite this week. “It’s always been a course I really enjoyed but last week I wanted to learn as much as I could about the course because this week was my priority. I think it definitely helped and having (veteran LPGA Tour caddie) Davy (Jones) is a great help too.
“I said before the week I wanted to enjoy it. I have Davy caddying for me, and we have been great friends for years. So, it has always been a dream to have him caddie for me. It just worked out this week that he could, so just coming into the week we were excited and having a good time. It’s been good weather and good company. I can’t complain!”
Mehaffey won the 2016 Irish Women’s Open Championship and the Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship. She also led the Great Britain & Ireland team to an upset victory in the Curtis Cup. The four-time All-American Sun Devil made her first appearance in a professional event at the 2016 AIG Women’s Open. In 2020, Mehaffey made the cut at the 2020 ANA Inspiration and also competed in the AIG Women’s Open and U.S. Women’s Open. An ever-present inside the world’s top-20 on the amateur rankings, she will turn to the paid ranks after five years with ASU before summer and on this evidence, Mehaffey’s ready.
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“It’s amazing, I am going to turn pro in just a couple of months,” she said. “I wanted to get as much experience as I could and to have this opportunity is amazing. I am so grateful to Carlisle Companies for giving me the invite. The more I can play with the pros the more I can learn about my game.”
Mehaffey heads a three-way tie for second led by Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, VA) who is sure finding a rhythm with the work she put in the last few months. After 36 holes at Longbow Golf Club, Coughlin is 9-under par overall, tied with Ruixin Liu and Celine Herbert. She used an impressive 5 birdies in a row on the back nine today to sign for a 5-under par 67 and is just two shots back of the lead.
“I am hitting the ball a lot further. I am pretty much just having wedges in,” said Coughlin. “I think the most I hit into the back nine was an 8-iron on No 16. Everything else was a pitching wedge or below. I found something with my stroke, saw one go in and then they all started to go in.”
In her sixth year of playing as a professional between the Symetra and LPGA Tours Coughlin is looking to take strides this season. Last year, she claimed six top-25 finishes on the Symetra Tour, including a solo third. She also made two cuts in five starts on the LPGA Tour, with a season best T34 at the LPGA Drive On Championship – Reynolds Lake Oconee.
“It’s been really nice to have a steady person [as my caddy]. I didn’t have that at the beginning of my career, so knowing every week we are good to go we have really been able to get in a rhythm.”
Full scoring HERE