Mehaffey bounces back but misses the cut at Carlisle Women’s Open

Adam McKendry

Olivia Mehaffey (Photo" John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Olivia Mehaffey was considerably better on the second day of the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic in Mesa, however she wasn’t able to claw back enough shots to make the cut in her season debut on the Epson Tour.

The Tandragee woman had given herself a mountain to climb after a six-over 78 in her first round and although she went nine shots better in her second round with a three-under 69, at three-over for the week she was three shots off the cut line.

It’s not the ideal start to the season for Mehaffey, who only has limited status on the Epson Tour in her bid to earn her LPGA Tour card for next season, however she will be encouraged at how she bounced back from her poor opening day performance.

The former Arizona State college star is only embarking on her first season as a professional, too, so there is a degree of learning to be done and she will take lessons from this week at Longbow Golf Club.

Her second round did show a fair degree of bouncebackability, with Mehaffey knowing she needed to produce something much improved from her seven bogeys in Thursday’s 78, and she got it on Friday.

It looked like it might be another round where she would struggle when she followed up five straight pars to start her round with a bogey six at the par-five 15th, but a birdie at the par-five 18th turned around her fortunes.

A bogey-free inward nine saw her pick up shots at the first, fifth and eighth which saw her sign for a 69 that will hopefully be a momentum boost as she looks ahead, and she will hope she can sneak into next week’s IOA Championship – a tournament fellow Northern Irishwoman Stephanie Meadow won in 2018.

At the top, first round leader Sophie Hausmann maintained her lead but saw it matched going into the weekend, the German following up her seven-under 65 in her opening round with a three-under 69 on day two, consisting of six birdies and three bogeys, to lead at 10-under overall.

However, she is now joined at the top by Mexico’s Ingrid Gutierrez Nunez who shot the lowest round of the day, a bogey-free 65 that saw her birdie six holes of her front-nine, but then par the first eight holes of her back-nine before birdieing the par-five 18th to reach the summit.

It’s a tightly bunched leaderboard behind the pair, with Panama’s Laura Restrepo and China’s Ruixin Liu signing for six-under 66s to sit alongside Sweden’s Dani Holmqvist a shot further back at nine-under.

Restrepo’s six-under was something of a roller coaster, containing two eagles, four birdies and two bogeys, while Liu’s was more pedestrian in that it consisted of seven birdies and one bogey. Holmqvist had another fine round as a bogey-free 67 put her within touching distance of the lead, too.

Canada’s Jaclyn Lee and American pair Haylee Harford and Natalie Srinivasan – who held a share of the first round lead – sit at eight-under, with Mexico’s Maria Fassi and Taipei’s Ssu-Chia Cheng rounding out the top-10 at seven-under-par.

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