Transferring from Indiana to Louisiana State University has been a sliding doors moment for Lahinch sensation Aine Donegan, in fact she credits the move as the sole reason for the following piece being published.
Donegan is one of Ireland’s brightest young talents and this week she will tee it up at the US Women’s Open Championship at Pebble Beach having come through a qualifier earlier this month.
She was the big fish in a small pond at Indiana where she was easily the best golfer on her team and that allowed a conservative nature to creep into her game but her mind remained sharp and she quickly sought a move to LSU which has seen her rub shoulders with world number one amateur Ingrid Lindblad and take her game to the next level. She is in the big leagues.
“We get on very well as a team and we got really close travelling together. I was really happy with how I played this year and honestly I would put that down to practicing with my team day in, day out. I would actually say the only reason my game has gotten to a different level this year is because I’m just practising with people who are way better than me.”
In order to be the best you have to beat the best and Donegan has pipped Lindblad on occasion.
The Ennis native will have long time coach Gary Madden (Glenlo Abbey) on the bag for her this week in California but she also pays huge credit to University coach Garrett Runion for changing her mindset. Now she craves birdies.
It’s been a simple case of raising standards for Donegan at LSU who will have brand spanking new wedges waiting for her at Pebble – with the 21-year-old having to compete with Lindblad and world number 30 Latanna Stone just for a pat on the back from her coaches.
The business analytics student has gone from doubting her abilities to becoming an assassin as she ponders a career in the pro ranks. Safe to say the move to LSU has brought her out of her shell.
“We have the number one player in the world on our team and another girl who has played Curtis Cup for the US, just by playing and practicing with them you get normalised into shooting low scores where it’s not a big deal. Especially because we have the number one player in the world who has broken every record in the University, so unless you break her records you won’t be talked about too much.