It was great to see the big smile on the face of Ireland’s top world-ranked amateur Lauren Walsh when she birdied the closing two holes to be assured of making the cut in the 2021 AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie.
Walsh improved by five shots in posting a second round three-under par 69 to get back to level par and head to a well-earned luncheon break just outside the top-20 in her maiden Major showing.
The Castlewarden club member, who is also a sophomore at Wake Forest University in the States, is among five amateurs in this year’s championship and is now just two shots shy of Scotland’s Louise Duncan in the race to become the leading amateur.And with next week’s GB&I Curtis Cup showdown looming large on the horizon, there could not have been a better boost for Walsh, currently ranked No. 21 on the amateur rankings.
“I’m delighted to finish with two birdies as I hit two good shots into 17 and 18 and yes, finally got the putts to drop,” she said.
“I played solid yesterday and today, and all I am trying to do is get it together. It wasn’t the best of ball-striking days yesterday but I was happy where my game was at and I knew coming into today I could shoot a couple under and try and get myself back up the leaderboard and try and make the cut.”
It had been a 6.41am start for Walsh and her playing partners, out in the second match of the day on the famed Scottish links. Walsh dropped a shot at the third for a second day but then for a second day running she birdied the par-5 fifth hole but then bogeyed nine before bouncing back with birdies at 11 and 12 ahead of four pars and then her birdie, birdie finish.
“It was an early start but then it was kind of nice to get out there because knowing what links golf courses are like, the mornings are calm,” she said. “We had a little bit of rain warming-up but then when we got out onto the golf course it would be alright, so happy with my score.”
Now that Walsh has made the cut, she’ll be looking to get into Duncan’s rear view mirror early on day three and strive to win the leading amateur award.
“Louise played great yesterday and it looked as though she did okay this morning but then after my round yesterday, I was just trying to make the cut today,” she said.
“Even just coming into the week I was just looking to gain some experience and just to feel what the atmosphere is like, so very excited to be here for the four days.
“It’s just been an incredible experience and hopefully this is something I will be doing in the future and it’s just so exciting to be a big part of it now as an amateur and kind of gain that experience, so it’s a really exciting week and I am just soaking it all in.”
Making this week all that more special for Walsh is having her sister Clodagh as caddy, an experienced player in her own right and a member of the Paddy Harrington Programme at Maynooth University.
“I’m lucky to have a competitive golfer as a sister,” said Lauren. “Nobody knows my personality and my game better than Clodagh.”
Leona Maguire had just finished off a brilliant five-under par round of 67 to move right into contention at five-under par, just two strokes off the lead. Full report on Leona to follow separately.
- Full scoring HERE