AIG Irish Women’s Close Champion Sara Byrne is looking forward to helping Ireland defend their crown at the R&A Home Internationals this week.
Tramore’s Anna Dawson has been called up to the Irish Women’s team as a replacement for Anna Foster (Elm Park), who has qualified for the AIG Women’s Open, which begins on Thursday in Walton Heath.
Foster shot a round of -3 in final qualifying to secure a place in her first Major championship. And this opened the door for Dawson who has shown recent form as she captured the Leinster O18 Women’s Amateur Open at Bunclody Golf Club.
Meanwhile the Girls’ and Boys’ Home Internationals are underway this morning in Lindrick, England, while the Women’s and Men’s matches will begin tomorrow at Machynys, Wales.
Representing Ireland is always an honour for Douglas golfer, Byrne, and having the opportunity to compete alongside friends while having fun is what makes it so special as they chase the title.
“Yeah, honestly over the moon as always,” said Byrne.
“It’s always a great week representing my country and I never take that for granted and honestly Homes is probably one of my favourite weeks. Just playing match play with the girls and you’re always fighting for the win. It’s just a great week and we all have great fun out there so yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.
“It feels amazing getting to play in all the tournaments we get to play in like European Teams and Home Internationals, it’s an experience like no other knowing that you’re representing your country and people are always supporting you.
“It’s just an amazing feeling especially at the first tee shot, your name getting called out, and it’s just always a special feeling.”
Byrne is part of the Women’s selection along with Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle), a week on from her heroics with Europe in the Patsy Hankins Trophy. Emma Fleming (Elm Park) leads the way in the Bridgestone Order of Merit while Kate Lanigan (Hermitage), Mairead Martin (Kanturk) and Jessica Ross (Clandeboye) also add their class to a strong Irish team.
“Being back with all the girls again, we’re all really good friends and its always really nice to come back and see each other and play on the same teams again because we always have great fun,” said Byrne.
“That’s the best part we’re going out there and competing for our country and we’re also having fun while doing it and I don’t think we can ask for any more than that. That’s what makes it so great because even out in America with your team you’re still kind of playing individually as well.
“That’s why I come back for Homes and European teams, and it really is just this big, massive team effort especially homes being just match play. Having that is what makes it so special. It’s so rare that you never really get to play it that often.”