22-year-old Trinity graduate and Hermitage club member Kate Lanigan can happily cancel any weekend plans after the amateur turned in an excellent second-round 69 at Dromoland Castle to book her place at the business end of the KPMG Women’s Irish Open.
The Business, Economics and Social Studies student played like a seasoned professional as she recovered from a two-over through three start to round one to turn in a level-par 72, and despite another early bogey in round two, put her foot down on the front nine to birdie the 12th – she started on 10 – add two more on 15 and 16, and rolled in a fourth at the par-5 18th to make the turn in three-under.
Unable to keep the momentum going on the inward loop, she’d drop a shot at the par-4 fourth, but navigated the tricky middle-third section with assurance and finished in style as she rolled in a 15-footer for birdie at the last.
“Yeah, exactly, you said it yourself there,” she said when asked if she’d done all the hard work on the front nine. “I suppose I was just trying to get as many birdies in to weather the storm before the front nine – but I didn’t play too badly on the front nine. I got around in level.”
Dromoland Castle’s front nine, which offers just one par-5 as opposed to three on the back, is certainly playing the more difficult of the nines and a level-par score on it wouldn’t see her lose too much ground.
“It was nice to finish off with birdie,” she said, “but, yeah, it was pretty solid. I think the difference between yesterday and today is I just hit the fairways a little bit more which takes the pressure off.”
Unusually, Lanigan and playing partner Paz Marfa Sans of Spain, played as a two-ball with the third having dropped out on the ninth hole in round one. This, complete with an extremely slow three-ball in front, meant that both players often had to endure long waits before being able to execute their shots. But despite the inconvenience, Lanigan was in no mood to complain.
“Yesterday it worked out quite nicely,” she said, because Marfa Sans would be classed as deliberate, as well. “We were probably about to be monitored going through 10.”
With heavy rain falling intermittently on the opening day, the long waits often provided an opportunity to take shelter, but in Friday’s sunshine, it was a different story.
“Yeah, it was a little bit slower. It was very, very hard and I kind of had to have a few practice swings almost before I hit the shot because we waiting for easily four or five minutes [on every shot.] So there was a lot of other things going on. So I’m very happy with how I kind of held, held my own on the back nine given the circumstances.”
This is Lanigan’s second appearance in the event having earned an invitation last year as well, though she’s faring considerably better this time around, and she feels that the experience gained last year is standing to her this year.
“Well, I suppose I’m at a huge advantage,” she reasoned, “I played last year and I didn’t play well and, but look, I reflected on on the week and I suppose the golf was fine. It was just, I maybe got kind of lost in it. I was a bag of nerves, basically. So this year it definitely helped.
“I knew kind of where everything was, I knew how many people would be out, so I felt that I just had to control the golf and everything else would be fine. So, yeah, learning experience from last year, for sure.”
Despite her impressive performance through 36 holes, the recent graduate explained that she has no plans to turn professional anytime soon as a role with PWC awaits.
“Yes, that’s the plan at the moment. I mean, you never know what can happen. but yeah, that’s still is the plan at the moment, I suppose. Give it one more year on the international circuit. But you never say never.”
A repeat of her exploits over the opening two rounds may change her mind, but the primary goal for the week has been achieved and everything from here is icing on the cake.
“Yeah, obviously the goal was to make the cut,” she smiled, “So I might need to set a few more goals for the week.”