England’s Patience Rhodes will have a slender lead beginning her second round at the Irish Girls’ Open Stroke Play Championship on Saturday after the 15-year-old from Bernham and Berrow Golf Club carded three birdies in her two-under par round of 69 – two of which came on the closing two holes.
“On 17 I hit it past the pin and holed a 15 footer back down the hill which was a nice confidence booster,” said Rhodes.
“I hit most fairways and greens all day and putted well. I had a 6 foot putt for birdie on 18 which was a tricky left to right one, but I managed to stay calm and hole it”.
Of the 34 Irish players in the field, Elm Park’s Leah Temple Lang is best positioned following her level par round. Temple Lang also birdied her closing two holes and the score reflects her best yet in four previous attempts at the event. Not bad going considering the teenager was sitting her Irish oral exams for the leaving cert on Wednesday.
“To be honest, I feel like I left a few out there but I’m happy – I birdied the last two which always helps. But this year my game’s been feeling really good. The warm weather training with the ILGU has made such a difference. It’s easy in summer time when you’re playing a lot to get in the zone but this year we’ve been able to hit the ground running so I felt ready to go from the start.”
Lahinch’s Aine Donegan recovered from a less than perfect start, having been three-over par after six holes, to finish one over for her opening round, while Douglas’ Sara Byrne sits just inside the top-20 on three over.
“It was tough out there,” said Donegan. “I thought the greens were really tricky; surprisingly fast but I’m happy with how I played and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Elm Park’s Anna Foster carded a four-over par 75 to get her championship bid underway while Beth Coulter was frustrated with her five-over par 76 despite clocking birdies on two of her closing three holes.
“It was soft out there and playing tough this morning,” said Coulter who sits in a tie for 36th after day one.
“I had a four-footer for eagle on 18 that just missed that would have helped a bit but there’s still a long way to go so I’ll get a bit of practice in this afternoon and go again tomorrow.”
The field, in which fifteen countries are represented, will be cut to the top 50 players and ties following Saturday’s second round, with the 2019 Champion crowned on Sunday afternoon.