Tour stars turn out as Maynooth tune up for Student Series Portugal

John Craven

The Maynooth University squad with Johnny Foster (MU Coach) Olivia Mehaffey (LET) Joao Carlota (MU graduate / Golf Sales Manager at Dom Pedro Hotel & Golf Resort)

The Paddy Harrington Golf Scholars enjoyed a rare treat as tour pros Olivia Mehaffey and Cormac Sharvin tuned up alongside the Maynooth squad ahead of the first R&A Student Series event of the new year in Portugal.

Twelve players travelled to the Algarve last week for four days of warm weather training and a 36-hole competition with coaches Johnny Foster, Noel Fox and Donal Scott running the eye over the panel ahead of the season opener in Troia on Wednesday.

What was unexpected was the appearance of tour stars Olivia Mehaffey and Cormac Sharvin who joined the camp for most of the week, even teeing up in Maynooth’s 36-hole comp played across the Old Course and Vila Sol Golf Course in Vilamoura.

The pair reached out to Maynooth as they ramped up their own preparations ahead of their respective seasonal reappearances with Mehaffey teeing up this week on the Ladies European Tour in Kenya while Sharvin is facing into a full campaign on the Challenge Tour.

“The squad have had a productive week in the Algarve and it’s been a great way to kickstart the new year,” says Programme Co-Ordinator Barry Fennelly.

“It’s great to have the coaches over as always and then to have Olivia and Cormac join us for most of the week was a real treat. They’re two quality human beings and obviously two great players.

“The students really enjoyed picking their brains. We had a couple of Q&A sessions which were particularly informative, especially around how they prepare for tournaments and what a good day’s practice looks like for them.

“That was brilliant so really grateful for their time and no doubt that will prove invaluable to the guys for the year ahead.”

First up for Maynooth is the quirky track at Troia from February 1-3 with Fennelly predicting a tough assignment on its firm, fast greens.

And in more good news, year-round golf is never an issue for those lucky enough to attend Maynooth University with those good enough to qualify staying in the sunshine ahead of the Portuguese Amateur next week at Montado Golf Resort.

“It’s a great opportunity for the guys to get some competitive rounds under their belt,” adds Fennelly, with Allan Hill and Ryan Griffin confirmed in the field while there’s also a hopeful place for Simon Walker.

“We’ve put these Tour Series events in spots in the schedule to enable players who are good enough to stay on and play the Portuguese Am, while the Spanish event is the week after the Spanish Amateur so again that’s a great chance to play a lot of quality competitive golf early in the year.”

For more on the R&A Student Series, CLICK HERE

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