Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) is looking forward to getting used to playing links golf again as she is set to defend her title at Connemara Golf Links in the AIG Irish Women’s Close Championship. 61 golfers will head west to challenge Coulter, who hopes to continue her fine form after a quarter-final finish at last week’s Women’s British Amateur Championship.
The 19-year-old Arizona State student has returned home for the summer and is hoping to keep her momentum going as she familiarises herself with playing links golf again and embracing the challenge of learning a new golf course.
“None of us have played Connemara before really. It’s way out west and we will all be getting there at the same stage. It’s links and I just love coming home in the summer and playing links. I’m getting used to it again since being out in America, all the shots, and I grew up playing links. So I guess I’m really looking forward to it as it’s on a links course, obviously last year it wasn’t. But it’s nice,” said Coulter.
“Out of the top players, none of us have played it. So we’re all on the same page. We’re getting there, we will have the practise round to figure it out and it’s kind of who figures it out the quickest. And then as the week goes on, the Match Play. We will just prepare and see what it has in store for us.”
The Kirkistown Castle golfer feels that her first year in the States has allowed her to develop her game more which has resulted in her hitting the ground running as she returned home for a summer of golf.
“My game is in a pretty good place. Over in America, my short game really improved. I was struggling to hole putts, birdie putts. Now, in the spring I got a new putter and I feel much more confident with the putter and I’m striking the ball well. When all of them things are in place it’s very easy to feel confident. I felt very confident on the course last week, confident in Woodbrook. It’s just so much easier and relaxing and fun to play golf that way.”
“I got a new Ping putter. I got it fitted out in America. Just something new and fresh and a bit more to my technique. So, it’s much easier to take it straight back, straight through and get it in the hole.”
Coulter will begin the Stroke Play qualifier today at 9.44am alongside Sara Byrne (Douglas) and Libby Fleming (El Camino Country Club). They will play another 18 holes of qualifying tomorrow and if she successfully qualifies in the top-16 for Match Play, the 2022 champion will be on track with her title defence.
Coulter is also looking forward to enjoying her week at the AIG Irish Women’s Close as she gets the opportunity to spend time with and compete against her friends.
“It’s one I would always go down and stay with Anna and Áine. We would share an Airbnb and stuff, so it’s kind of fun.”
“Everybody has an opportunity, but I know there are some big names playing so I see them all as challengers. “