Coulter feeling at home amongst the pros at Dromoland

Mark McGowan
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Beth Coulter (Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

19-year-old County Down amateur Beth Coulter oozes confidence and the girl about to start her second year at Arizona State University is acquitting herself magnificently in her maiden professional event.

Having had the honour of getting the event underway on Thursday morning, she’ll enter Sunday’s final round in the middle of the pack at -2 after turning in an excellent three-under on moving day. And it will have proven particularly satisfying after she made two early bogeys and was over-par through eight holes.

“Yeah, I know,” she said, all smiles afterwards. “I just kind of had to get through the front nine and, you know, give myself a solid base into the back nine because I know that’s where the scoring is at, and thankfully I did birdie the ninth to go in level and I could kind of restart again and, I knew there was a few birdies out there and I actually left a few out there on the back.”

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Despite her youth and her relative inexperience, the talent is clearly evident and she seems in no way surprised at how well she’s coping against the cream of the LET – something that her year’s experience at Arizona State has played no small part in.

“Yeah, I’ve definitely seen a good few improvements in my game,” she said, “and, you know, I’m fairly ‘go with the flow’ and although this is a pro event, there is a wee bit of nervousness there but, you know, there’s nothing as tough as qualifying for your college team.

“So, if you can do that, you can do most things in golf.”

A talented Camogie player, there aren’t many better places to hone the skills than at Arizona State where fellow Irish player Olivia Mehaffey graduated from, as did Solheim Cup star Carlotta Ciganda and multiple major winners Phil Mickelson and Jon Rahm, and the Mickelson designed short-game area is proving to be a particular hit with Coulter.

“The boys are there and they’re always chipping, you know, doing crazy things and asking us for competitions and, you know, you’re there with some of the best players in the world and it’s nice just to compete against them every day.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s a fantastic place to start,” she said of her maiden pro tournament. “You know, it’s my first Pro event and a lot of the girls said it’s actually their favourite on the LET, and no better place to start. I mean, at home in Dromoland in an Irish open, and so, I mean, it’s really cool and hopefully now I can kick on for the rest of the weekend.”

As for comparing her own game to the elites of the LET? “I think probably just, the main thing was they make less mistakes,” she said, “and that’s probably how I was playing my better golf during the summer. I was cutting out the mistakes. You know, I know I can make enough birdies, but it’s those mistakes that kind of kill me and, and it gets very evident. Here, the leaders are not making very many mistakes and they’re making a lot of birdies.”

She’s reluctant to set any specific targets for the final round, however, instead focusing on regaining the £100 she lost to her younger brother. “No, I kind of try not to think about these things,” she admitted, “but try to go out there and go as low as I can, you know, having a birdie bet with someone is always nice and I had it with my younger brother today and hopefully tomorrow I can beat him and get £100 in my back pocket.”

She’d clarify that the bet was “If I shot four-under or better,” confessing to being particularly frustrated at missing a short birdie putt on 16, but she’s clearly not short on confidence and very much at home.

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