In what will undoubtedly be a big confidence booster, Tandragee’s Olivia Mehaffey is safely through to the last round at the ISPS Handa World Invitational, playing in her first competitive tournament as a professional on home soil.
The women’s event, where the cut after two rounds fell at one-over par had another cut after round three with only the top-35 players progressing to the final round at Galgorm Castle, so the pressure was on Mehaffey, sitting in 26th place after round two, and it was no surprise that she returned a bit of a mixed bag.
“It was a little bit of a rollercoaster,” said Mehaffey after her round. “I wasn’t hitting it great to begin with and was putting well to keep myself in it, then I feel like I had a few chances and I didn’t hole anything. Misread a few between six and nine feet and then put a little pressure on myself.
“I said to myself on 17, right, two birdies to finish. I actually thought I only needed one, so good I made the one on the last! It was a little up and down, but it’s also nice because I haven’t played super close to the cut line in many events, and it’s a tough event with two cut lines so that was in my head a bit. But it’s a good experience to have that pressure down the stretch.
Mehaffey finished on 5-under par, eight shots off the leaders, and stayed in T26 place with four bogeys in her round today which she countered magnificently with some superb play and six birdies, none more important than the one on eight.
“I held a 35-footer on 8, so that was probably most impressive, but not knowing I needed it down the last was good. I hit driver-driver. I didn’t want to lay up and I knew my 3-wood wasn’t getting there, so I hit driver and I’m pretty happy I had the confidence to do that.
And Mehaffey can now look forward to welcoming a big crowd of followers on Sunday and she admits that she’ll be a little less tense than today and hopes her performances can inspire younger golfers to play at the highest level.
“It’s quite a unique event that there are two cuts and I had so many people telling me they were coming on Sunday, so I needed to make it to Sunday!
“I think I’ll be a bit more relaxed (on Sunday). I was a little bit tense today because I knew how much I wanted to get through to tomorrow. I feel my game is in a good place and tomorrow my goal is just to enjoy it. Today was a little bit more stressful than I would have liked.
“When I was growing up I didn’t have that female role as much, I looked up to the guys – Rory, Shane, Darren, Graeme. If two of those girls watching want to really get to this level, that would mean a lot to me. I would love to be a role model for them now.”
Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!