Donegan hoping to shine in California again at US Women’s Amateur

Ronan MacNamara

Aine Donegan (Photo: USGA/James Gilbert)

“The weather in Ireland would make you want to go! It’s been so bad,” says Aine Donegan who is packing her bags once again to head to Bel-Air Country Club for the US Women’s Amateur Championship on Monday.

The bubbly Lahinch woman is California dreaming and why wouldn’t she be after a standout performance at last month’s US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach on her professional debut.

Hopefully this time around, Donegan will arrive on the West Coast of America with all her golf clubs intact as she follows up a made cut at last week’s European Ladies Championship. The 21-year-old is keeping to a similar formula again in California with Glenloe Abbey’s Gary Madden flying over to caddie for her, as he did at Pebble.


“I like the California vibes,” she explains to the USGA. “Maybe it’s the food [or] the fresh air. I don’t know what it is. Just to be at such a pretty golf course like Bel-Air Country Club is going to be really, really good. Two of my college teammates will be there and my [swing] coach (Gary Madden) is going to caddie for me. He’s seen me grow up and knows my swing inside out. I couldn’t ask for anyone better as a coach or caddie.”

Donegan will tee it up in the opening group at 7:00 am local time alongside Caroline Canales and Gracie McGovern and she carries with her strong Stateside form having qualified for all seven spring tournaments in the college season with LSU, including NCAA regional and national championships while she also played all four rounds at the US Women’s Open.

Back in an area where she clearly feels comfortable and fuelled by the rapid improvement in her game that came with the transfer to LSU from Indiana, the Clare woman is in a good place to mount a challenge this week.

“Everything is set up for you to improve there,” says Donegan, who finished third at both regional and nationals to earn honourable mention All-American honours from the Women’s Golf Coaches of America and will be joined at Bel-Air by teammates Stone and rising sophomore Taylor Riley. “Just practicing and playing every day with the girls helps so much.”

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