Ireland are hoping for more birdies tomorrow after an unrewarding second round on the O’Meara Course at the World Amateur Team Championship.
The hosts share 10th place on two under par at the halfway stage, recording a team total of plus one in round two, with the United States leading on 18 under. Playing alongside the US and Republic of Korea, who are now just one behind overall, Ireland were overshadowed by phenomenal scoring from the leading sides.
Korean Ayean Cho produced a stunning 64 featuring seven birdies and an eagle at the 15th in a flawless round of golf. World number one Jennifer Kupcho had eight birdies in her 65. Teammate Kristen Gillman matched that score to put the US ahead overall. Cho leads the individual standings on 13 under par alongside Japan’s Yaku Yasuda.
Olivia Mehaffey has been Ireland’s leading player so far and her second round 73 could have been so much better had it not been for a bad break on 18. Mehaffey pushed her drive right where the ball lodged behind a tree. Forced to take an unplayable, Mehaffey could only punch her third shot into the greenside bunker. Her woes were compounded when the bogey putt lipped out.
It was Mehaffey’s second double bogey of the round – she made seven at the fourth – but there were also four birdies on the card, reflecting the quality of her play.
“They’re playing great,” said team captain Danielle McVeigh. “They just maybe got a little bit in their own way today. There are no big issues.”
A six at the last will always leave a sour taste and the disappointment was palpable on a day when conditions were ripe for scoring.
“When you bring expectation and hope into it, it makes things really tricky,” said McVeigh. “We’re only a couple of shots worse than we were yesterday. And yesterday was a good score. Today it’s a bad score. Who decides these things? Comparison is the thief of joy.
The girls did the best they could. I’m sure they were a bit frustrated out there.”
Two bogeys in the first three holes was not the start that Annabel Wilson had hoped for but she rallied well to finish the day one over.
“It was kind of a fight the whole way around,” said Wilson. “I got it back to even par through nine, which was nice. I was middle of the green and two putts all day. It was frustrating, I couldn’t get anything close to have a look at a birdie.”
Wilson made birdies at the fifth and the eighth to turn in level par. Chasing an eagle at 15, she pushed her second into the water. After making bogey, Wilson closed with three pars to post 74, which keeps Ireland inside the top 10.
“Fresh start and see what I can do tomorrow,” said Wilson. “I’d like to see some more birdies.”
Ireland return to the Montgomerie course for round three, 13 shots outside the podium places. If their putters heat up, they can still challenge for a medal.
The United States hold a one-shot lead overnight and US captain Stasia Collins is preaching patience for tomorrow’s penultimate round.
“We are only halfway there,” said Collins. “We are going to keep playing our game and take it one shot at a time.”
The World Amateur Team Championships are being hosted by the ILGU and GUI with support from Sport Ireland.