Lahinch’s Aine Donegan is hoping to turn her consistency on the US college scene into gold this week as she bids for the AIG Irish Women’s Amateur Close Championship in Connemara.
Donegan enjoyed a stellar campaign in her debut season with LSU, reeling off two top-3 finishes, a seventh and three top-20s as the Tigers reached the NCAA finals. The Lahinch star caught the eye nation-wide when she qualified for the upcoming US Women’s Open Championship at Pebble Beach in a fortnight, but that is firmly at the back of her mind as she looks for her first win at Senior level.
“It’s been a while since I’ve won,” admitted the Ennis native. “I’ve done well in the States and been coming inside the top-15 but nobody notices if you come in the top-15 you want to put your name on the trophy so I’m really looking forward to competing and I’m here to win it, so it’s about hitting the shots.
“A big goal of mine is to get a win and I feel like I can do it this week. I would love to join Leona Maguire and Olivia Mehaffey so a big goal is to get my name on that trophy.”
The 21-year-old is one of the big names heading to Connemara this week, sitting at 159th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking she is the second highest ranked women in the field this week.
Both Donegan and Beth Coulter progressed through to the matchplay stages of last week’s Women’s Amateur Championship in Sandwich, Kent with the latter advancing to the quarter-final.
The last-8 is Donegan’s best showing at the Irish Women’s Close to date and she expects a very open championship.
“I know Connemara is a good test and it will be good for matchplay once we get to that stage of the championship, it will be a very competitive championship and anyone can win it. Beth is obviously the reigning champion and played really well at the British AM and will come in as the favourite but anything can happen. It will be interesting to see how it goes and I’m excited for it. Hopefully the weather is OK!
“It will be a very competitive championship. We’ve got some really good young players coming through you look at the likes of Olivia Costello and others they will make the tournament even more competitive. These girls are really coming on and I think that’s really good.”
Donegan tees up with Roscommon star and Irish and Scottish Girls Champion, Olivia Costello and Elm Park’s Emma Fleming.