Ireland will have three representatives in the last-64 of the R&A Women’s Amateur Championship after 36-hole leader Beth Coulter was joined by Aine Donegan and Sara Byrne.
Kirkistown Castle’s Coulter carded a two-under 70 to ease into top spot after 36 holes of strokeplay qualifying on five-under-par which gave her a three-shot cushion over Latanna Stone, world number one Ingrid Lindblad, Sera Hasegawa and Hannah Darling.
Coulter will head into the matchplay stages at Prince’s as the top seed.
“Yeah, it’s nice to lead the qualifying but it doesn’t mean anything now. Doesn’t matter if you’re 1 or 64. It’s just about qualifying. Obviously it’s nice to be top qualifier but yeah, we’ll see tomorrow,” said Coulter.
“Both days I hit it pretty good. Today I definitely didn’t hit it as good as I hit it yesterday but I hit some nice shots coming in and rolled a few putts in to make birdie and hung on for par.”
Coulter teed off just a shot off top spot with her place in the top-64 all but secure barring any disasters. She gained the lead after two birdies in four holes before handing both shots back on the fifth and sixth. A birdie on 9 saw her turn in 35.
A third bogey of the day came on 13 but she powered home with two birdies in four holes to sit pretty at the top.
“At the start, I started off really well. I started, I think I was 2-under through through three or four holes. I holed some really nice putts. But then I had a little run where I let it get away from me a bit and then I hit a great shot into 9 to two feet from like 180. That was a momentum builder for the back nine.
“I hit some great shots today but I also hit some silly shots. I guess I can tidy those up this evening and take the positives from today and just move on.”
Lahinch star Donegan booked her place in the last-64 early on Wednesday after back ing up an opening 71 with a level-par 72 to clinch a top-6 spot on one-under.
Sixes on the par-5 2nd and the par-4 10th left the US Women’s Open bound woman on two-over but not in any real danger of falling out of the cut but she rallied home with birdies on 12, 13 and 17 to give herself some momentum heading into the matchplay.
Douglas native Byrne is also through at her ease after she recovered from a three-over 75 with a one-under 72 to post two-over for 36 holes and sit inside the top-25.
The Miami student posted two birdies and one bogey in a very solid effort.
Meanwhile late bogeys saw Kate Lanigan (Hermitage) miss out by a single shot while Anna Foster (Elm Park) and Aideen Walsh (Lahinch) also exited the championship.