Ireland 6th after opening day at Ladies European Team Championships

Sara Byrne (IRE) during first round of stroke play at the European Ladies' Team Championship, Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. 06/07/2021. Picture David Lloyd /

The 2021 European Ladies Team Championships began on Tuesday at the renowned Royal County Down Golf Club and the home side sit in 6th place after the opening round.

Aine Donegan (Lahinch) carded the best score of the day for Ireland, a two-under par 71 which included just two bogeys.

“I’m really happy, I’m happy with my short game, you know if you’ve a solid short game and you’re not in the really thick rough then you’ll be fine,” said Donegan. “You don’t want any shockers and thankfully I kept any doubles or worse off my card today and that was my aim going out there.”

Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) signed for 74, and admits that she was grateful for the early tee time before the weather turned.

“I was very happy to be out early this morning, there was no wind and there’s a bit of cloud coming in over the mountains there so the afternoon will be tricky.

“You have to be so strategic out on the course and limit the big numbers because all we have to do is qualify, and Flight A would obviously be class but it’s just about one shot at a time.”

One player who didn’t mind an afternoon tee time was Scotland’s Hannah Darling. The 2021 St. Andrew’s Links Trophy winner leads the individual leaderboard on 5-under:

“I did quite a lot of things well out there today. The conditions were tough and the course is quite demanding in places so you had to be sensible and not think that you’ve to go out there and do amazing things, just do as best as I can and I feel like I did that. It’s always an honour to represent your country so it’s nice to do it in a good way.”

The Czech Republic team of Frydlova, Kouskova, Kozeluhova, Melichova, Ryskova and Melecka have the top seed position in their sights as they take an 8-shot lead into Wednesday’s second round. Based on finishing position in the stroke play qualifying, the top eight teams qualify for the medal-contention Flight A bracket.

The format for the three remaining competition days is match play. Nations go head-to-head, with two foursomes matches in the morning and five singles matches in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s men were languishing in last place after a 12-over par start at PGA Catalunya Resort in Spain. Ireland find themselves seven shots off second last place Austria and a full 24 strokes behind France who set an impressive opening pace at 12-under par.

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