Women’s Amateur: Sara Byrne hangs tough at blustery Portmarnock

Ronan MacNamara

Sara Byrne (Photo by Patrick Bolger/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Douglas star Sara Byrne was quite pleased with her opening round of 74 which has her at two-over at the Women’s Amateur Championship in Portmarnock.

Byrne recovered from an opening hole double bogey where she took two swipes out of a fairway bunker and at the time of writing she is in a share of 32nd place which should improve over the course of the afternoon with gusts of up to 33km/h proving a tough test on an already firm and fast links.

“I played really, really well out there today I struck it really well,” said Byrne who has the joint lowest handicap index in the field at +8.2.

“Honestly the first was just a minor mistake that was down to execution more than anything else. Even after the first I didn’t feel like I should be two over, I hit good shots and that’s just the way it was. I climbed my way back and made a few silly putts that kind of caught me in the wind but overall, I’m taking confidence into tomorrow.”

Byrne got back on track instantly on the second with a birdie and although back to back bogeys on the fourth and fifth were a setback she began to find her stride with birdies on 8 and 11.

As she turned for home the wind started to get up and with the closing few holes playing into the teeth of strong gusts she was pleased to play the last four in bogey, birdie, bogey, par.

“Coming in 16, 17 and 18, even 15, the wind was gusting out there. 17 was straight into the wind and it was definitely a tough finish but I’m happy with plus two it gives me a good chance moving forward.

“I feel like for my front nine there was barely any wind and I felt like people were definitely eating it up out there. The person I was playing with was three or four under so there was a score out there in the morning. Then it was hard to gauge what people were doing but when I saw I was on the 18th green in two I was relieved like ‘OK’ because the wind is up now and people are going to struggle.”

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