Poots just wants to have fun as she prepares for Baltray test

Ronan MacNamara
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Poots just wants to have fun as she prepares for Baltray test

Katie Poots (Photo by Luke Walker/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Katie Poots is not putting too much pressure on herself ahead of the Flogas Irish Women’s and Girl’s Amateur Open Championship at Co. Louth Golf Club which begins on Friday.

The Knock golfer is one of the form players arriving in Baltray after lifting the prestigious Fairhaven Trophy last week.

After a difficult opening two rounds, Poots came back to win by the minimum, but she insists her focus was to have fun and she will carry that attitude to Co. Louth Golf Club where she finished 15th last year.

“After the first two rounds it was a bit unexpected to be honest,” said the Belfast native. “The last two rounds I went out with one of the Golf Ireland girls on my bag and just went out and had fun, good craic with all the teammates and just played golf.

“Having fun is just the most important thing for me. I am a very chatty person, I like to talk to the other person and just enjoy myself even if I am playing badly, just have good craic, that’s the main thing.

“I played it last year, I came 15th and I am looking forward to it. It’s another round of golf and just try to enjoy myself, take one shot at a time and see what happens.”

The Bloomfield Collegiate student has roared out of the traps to start the season, already achieving her goal of breaking into the top-1000 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings after last week’s win saw her crack the top-660.

Poots is delighted to have seen her hard work in the gym with Colin Bell pay dividends so soon and she is targeting more silverware this summer.

“I’ve been going to the gym three times a week so that just started off a good base so I am stronger and able to maintain for longer. I’ve been practicing as much as I can getting my short game better,” she said.

“I love smashing my driver! I love going to the gym and lifting weights, that’s my favourite bit.

“I wanted to get in the top-1000 in the world ranking so I did that after the win at Fairhaven. There’s a few individual events, I would love to win the Irish Girls Close but there’s no pressure on myself.

“I just go out and not put any pressure on myself, just enjoy myself and whatever happens, happens.”

The 16-year-old will be sitting her AS exams in a few weeks with the ambition of attending the University of Central Florida on a golf scholarship, following in the footsteps of her role model Olivia Mehaffey who excelled for ASU in the States.

Mehaffey and the Maguire twins have both achieved success in the Flogas Irish Women’s and Girls’ Amateur Open Championship and they have inspired Poots to emulate them:

“It’s great to have those girls as role models to try and be like them and continue in their footsteps. Me and Olivia Mehaffey played a three-club challenge at Royal County Down a few years ago so I would be good friends with Olivia.

“If she’s home I will always try and get a game with her, hopefully, a match with her to come!”

It has been a hectic start to 2022 already for Poots who has played tournaments in England, Scotland, Wales and France but she feels competing against older and better players is important to show what she needs to improve on going forward.

“I’m on the High-Performance panel and we went to Wales to play a match and then to France which was a good way to start the season and then Golf Ireland brought us to Fairhaven so they have been very good to me,” she said.

“It gives me more experience to know where I need to improve, especially when I played Junior Vagliano last year I noticed that there’s not much of a difference between me and the other girls playing, it’s down to short game so that gives me confidence knowing where I am and where I need to improve.”

Poots tees off at 10.34 on Friday morning alongside Sweden’s Ebba Nordstedt and Welsh golfer Lucy Ellen Jones.

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