Mehaffey in search of a spark as LET visits Cape Town

Mark McGowan

Olivia Mehaffey (Image courtesy of Ben Harpring / LPGA)

Olivia Mehaffey will make her third start of the LET season as the Tour moves from Johannesburg to Cape Town for the Investec South African Women’s Open at Steenberg Golf Club.

The Tandragee professional has struggled for consistency in her two starts to date, missing the cut in the Jo’burg Ladies Open last week and finishing T48 at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open last month, with first-round struggles the primary cause for concern.

Having taken an extended break from competitive golf in her ongoing battle to come to terms with the passing of her late father – a strong influence on her golfing career and her biggest supporter – Mehaffey returned to the LET for this year’s campaign with category 15 status as a top-80 finisher on the previous year’s Order of Merit having earned her LET card through a nine-round Q-School examination shortly after her father’s passing.

She posted her first LET top-10 finish at the Comunidade de Madrid Ladies Open in May of last year, but grief was bubbling under the surface and in August she announced her intent to step away for a period and give herself time to come to terms with the bereavement.

On her return at the difficult Vipingo Ridge Golf Club in Kenya, Mehaffey battled hard after opening with a seven-over par 80 – to put it in context, just eight players broke par on the day – but her first round problems surfaced again in Johannesburg last week where she shot +5 on the opening day and though she’d improve by five strokes in round two, the first round – and the final three holes of the first round in particular – that did the damage.

Steenberg Golf Club is another tough examination, and at the 2022 hosting, none of the 66-strong field were able to break par. There, Mehaffey posted a T18 finish – her second highest LET finish at the time – and she’ll be hoping that course knowledge will be of assistance this time round as she looks to kickstart her season.

Steenberg, which lies in the Constantia valley at the foothills of the picturesque Table Mountain, will play as a par-72, and the water run offs from the mountain comes into play regularly on the course in the form of streams and lakes, with the course routed through various vineyards for which the region is famous.

Strong winds are always a possibility given that Cape Town is situated near Africa’s Cape of Good Hope which was originally named the ‘Cape of Storms’ by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias during the Age of Exploration.

Mehaffey will play alongside Sweden’s Sara Kjeller and Namibian Bonita Bredenhann in the opening two rounds, teeing off at 12:20 local time (10:20 am Irish time) in Thursday’s opening round.

For full tee times and event information, click here. 

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