Olivia Mehaffey joins 71 other women who write themselves into history this week at the Inaugural Augusta National Women’s Masters which starts today.
Ireland’s leading women’s amateur, Olivia Mehaffey will become one of 72 women to write themselves into history this week when she tees up at Augusta for the Inaugural Augusta National Women’s Masters from 3-6 April.
The Banbridge star and current world amateur number 20 has been counting down the days until the historic 54-hole stroke play competition with the first 36-holes of the Championship set to be played at the Champions Retreat Golf Club, starting today, before all players enter Augusta National for an official practice round on Friday, April 5th.
A 36-hole cut will then see the top-30 players finish the tournament on the famous hallowed ground of Augusta on April 6th, the Saturday before the Masters.
For Mehaffey, just like it has for so many of us, the Masters tournament has resonated with her throughout her golfing journey to date and she’s now looking forward to becoming one of only a handful of players who will get the first opportunity to put women golfers on the Masters map.
“This is a huge and historic moment for women’s golf,” said Mehaffey.“It is very exciting to be part of this. I believe this will highlight how strong women’s golf is and hopefully it will be an event that women can play in to help with that mission for many years to come.”
To add a little spice to her own chances, the Arizona State star makes her way to Augusta National having rediscovered the winning feeling with victory at the Bruen Wave Invitational in March. Most recently, she finished in sixth place at the PING/ASU Invitational on Sunday having equalled her career low score of 65 at the event. Yet winning in golf cannot be underestimated; it reaffirms the work you’re doing in practice and although Mehaffey arrived in Arizona three years ago already amongst the top-20 amateurs in the world, does Olivia Mehaffey the Junior at ASU believe she’s a better player than the one who arrived in America a starry-eyed Freshman in 2016?
“I believe I am a much better player now than I was then,” she insisted.
“I have made a lot of changes both on and off the golf course since I moved away from home. I have so many new life skills and I’ve learned how to manage myself. On the golf course many areas of my game have changed also but it’s nice to see the results are still there too.
“I won last year so a drought was not something that was on my mind prior to winning the Bruin Wave but winning always feels good and there are many positives I can take from it ahead of the rest of the season.
”Mehaffey’s growing stature in the game has already seen her having to make some tricky scheduling decisions ahead of a busy summer’s golf.
While nothing was going to eclipse her Augusta invite, the Arnold Palmer Cup had to be sacrificed in order to accommodate the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship in June, an event set to be played very close to home.
“It was an extremely difficult decision to make,” she admitted of a scheduling conflict that may just foreshadow what’s to come for the budding pro.
“I loved getting the opportunity to play the Arnold Palmer back in 2018 but at the same time I am very excited to play a British Amateur at my home course in Royal County Down so it’s just one of those things.”
With so much to look forward to in a jam-packed amateur schedule, it will be difficult for Mehaffey not to get ahead of herself this term. For now though, she can chuck a full tank of energy behind this exciting trip to Georgia with an obvious goal of securing a top-30 spot after 36-holes certainly achievable for Ireland’s latest rising star in the world of women’s golf.
Wednesday, April 3: Round 1 at Champions Retreat
Thursday, April 4: Round 2 at Champions Retreat (Cut to top 30)
Friday, April 5: Practice round at Augusta National
Saturday, April 6: Final round at Augusta National
For the winner:
Provided the winner remains amateur, she will earn exemptions into the next five Augusta National Women’s Amateurs while also receiving invites to the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open, 2019 Women’s British Open and any USGA, R&A and PGA of America amateur championships for which she is eligible for one year. Some would say that given Augusta’s dark past, this bright new venture is a winner for everyone involved.