Olivia Mehaffey admits she is still working through the transition from amateur to professional golf as she improved her chances of moving on to the Final Stage of the Ladies European Tour Q-School after a fantastic finish in Spain saw her stay near the top of the leaderboard after day two of the First Stage.
The Tandragee woman was three-over thru 11 in her second round on the North Course at La Manga and had surrendered third place after four bogeys and one birdie saw her drop back into the middle of the pack at one-over for the tournament.
But a remarkable closing stretch saw her play her final seven holes in four-under to end the day with a one-under 70 that brought her back up to fourth at three-under overall.
With the top-75 and ties qualifying for next week’s Final Stage, which is being held at the same venue, Mehaffey is comfortably eight shots inside the cut mark and will be confident she can close it out from here.
Having had limited exposure to professional life so far since turning pro in May, her best finish coming at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational at Galgorm and Massereene, where she was 17th, the former Arizona State star concedes she has been enjoying the change of pace.
“It has been a big adjustment getting used to being on your own schedule and traveling. It is a lot more golf. It is quite demanding, but it has been a lot more fun to figure out things about myself and get used to it and that’s been quite helpful for me,” she said.
“(My round) was quite solid; I hit a lot of greens and had a lot of chances. I didn’t putt overall amazing, but I just put the ball in the right places, and it was simple golf.”
It has been a remarkable performance thus far from the 24-year-old, playing only a week after the passing of father Philip, who encouraged her to travel to compete in Spain.
Mehaffey already has limited status on the Symetra Tour for next season through her LPGA Q-School performance, but will hope to earn more starts on the LET in her bid to earn an LPGA Tour card for 2023.
Her second round has her on the right track, although for a long time it looked like she might be falling off the pace when she bogeyed the second, seventh, ninth and 11th alongside a birdie at the fifth to slide down the leaderboard.
But Mehaffey rallied superbly, picking up birdies at the 12th, 14th, 15th and 17th to get back under-par for the day and leave herself in fourth, four shots back of leader Lisa Pettersson.
“It’s really exciting where the LET is at at the minute and it just keeps getting better and it has been really fun to watch this year. Having LET status is something that has always been a goal for me so it’s fun to be here this week,” added the Co Down woman.
As it stands, she is due to be joined in next week’s Final Stage by Clandeboye’s Victoria Craig after a one-over 74 on the South Course left her five-over for the week and in a share of 55th at the halfway stage.
The 24-year-old, who has played predominantly on the LET Access Series since turning pro in 2017, mixed four birdies with three bogeys and a double to sit two shots inside the seven-over cut line.
Sweden’s Pettersson maintained her lead at the top of the standings as a three-under 70 on the South saw her reach seven-under for the week, three clear of Spanish duo Elena Hualde and Marta Sanz Barrio in second, with Mehaffey fourth.
Only the top-20 after next week’s Final Stage earn category 11 membership on the LET next season, which grants them full membership on Tour, with limited status awarded to players based on their finishing positions below that.
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