Beth Coulter is the AIG Irish Women’s Close champion after she produced an emphatic performance to beat Douglas’s Sara Byrne 6&5 in the final at Grange Golf Club.
In what was a repeat of the 2019 Irish Girls Close Championship Coulter was too hot to handle for Byrne as she atoned for last year’s final defeat to Anna Foster in Ballybunion.
“Yeah it feels great to win, it feels like I have been here forever,” said the 18-year-old. “I feel like I have been here an entire week. After the first round of strokeplay qualifying, it was just about making the matchplay I think it was the worst I’ve played for about four years.
“It feels great after coming second last year to go on and finish the job after all the pressure at the start of the week.
“It didn’t really matter where I qualified, first or 32nd, the first few matches gave me that bit of confidence and it was nice to go and get the job done.”
Coulter came through an extremely close semi-final tie with Edmondstown’s Anna Abom after a par on 18 was enough to progress by one hole while Byrne produced a dominant display to dispatch of Clandeboye’s Rebekah Gardner 4&3.
Byrne couldn’t replicate her morning form while Coulter stepped it up a gear and she feels a tightly contested match with Abom kept her tuned in mentally for the afternoon.
“I don’t think any of us were more than 1UP each way and I needed that this morning because I had three matches that I had won by loads so I needed that to really focus me. In the afternoon it paid off because I got out of the blocks quickly and kept my foot on the pedal.
“I’ve played Sara a couple of times and played with her; we are good friends. It was about trying to get up and staying up, I made a few nice putts out there so it’s very nice.”
The Miami University student left a good birdie putt short on the second before she chipped through the green on the par-3 4th to fall two behind.
Coulter donned in the colours of her local GAA club dropped a shot on the 6th as she saw her lead halved but she held a 10-footer for birdie on 7 to go 2UP again and pard the 8th to stretch her advantage to three and take control of the tie.
The Kirkistown native was solid from tee to green as she capitalised on Byrne’s struggles on the putting surface. Pars on ten and eleven saw her roar 5 clear before a clumsy three-putt on the 12th saw her halve the hole and give Byrne some reprieve.
With Byrne within gimme range for par on 13, Coulter won in style as she rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt to take the title and secure a comprehensive 6&5 victory.
“The greens were really tricky, they are rolling lovely and they are quite fast. It was nice to see a few drop.
“I didn’t really know if I was five or six up. I had the same kind of putt from a little bit closer so I knew the line and just had to hit it. Thankfully it went in to finish the job.”
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