Olivia Mehaffey’s season got off to a rough start on the Epson Tour as she struggled to a six-over 78 in her opening round at the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic in Mesa.
The Co. Down woman only managed one birdie on day one but also carded seven bogeys, and she is battling just to make the cut in her first event of her sophomore season as a professional, having only turned pro in April of last year.
Her round leaves her 13 shots off the early lead, held by Germany’s Sophie Hausmann, who carded a seven-under 65 featuring an eagle, six birdies and a bogey to lead by two early at Longbow Golf Club.
With only limited status on the Epson Tour this season, Mehaffey knows every event is crucial in her bid to earn her LPGA Tour card for next season, and this is not the ideal start to her year – although she is not out of it yet with the projected cut only level-par.
She will need to be considerably better than her first round moving forward, though, as she never managed to get any momentum going in Mesa.
Three pars represented a solid start for the Tandragee woman, but she ran into trouble at the par-four fourth and would add three more bogeys before she got to the turn to put herself under pressure by the end of her front-nine.
Unfortunately things would not improve on her back-nine, bogeys following at the 11th and 14th and, although she would pick up her only birdie of the day at the par-five 15th, a bogey at the 16th would end her day on a sour note.
If she is to make it into the weekend then she will likely need to get into red figures just to guarantee herself tee times on Saturday and Sunday, but at the very least she will hope for a much-improved performance on Friday.
Meanwhile, Hausmann was on top form to give herself an early buffer at the top, the German two shots clear of Alana Uriell and Natalie Srinivasan after a seven-under 65 in her first round.
Hausmann, who will defend her IOA Championship title in California next week, looks to be showing some form going into that and may go into it off the back of a win if she continues her scoring from day one as she birdied four of her opening seven holes to race out into a quick start.
A bogey at the 10th seemed to have halted her momentum, but a run of birdie-birdie-eagle at the 13th, 14th and 15th has her in a strong position already.
Uriell, meanwhile, had a superb fightback after three bogeys in her first four holes left her three-over, but she played her final six holes in six-under-par – including two eagles – to hold a share of second after a five-under 67.
She was matched by Srinivasan, who signed for seven birdies and two bogeys, with nine players – including Mexico’s Maria Fassi and Sweden’s Maja Stark and Dani Holmqvist – tied for fourth at four-under-par.