Mehaffey back in Arizona in search of a familiar spark

John Craven

All smiles as Olivia Mehaffey returns to Arizona - Image by Epson Tour

Olivia Mehaffey will hope a return to familiar territory will spark her season into gear when she tees up at the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic from today [Thursday] on the Epson Tour.

After a spell on the LET circuit in recent weeks that included playing all four rounds in Kenya as well as two missed cuts in South Africa, Mehaffey returns to U.S. soil where she spent four incredible years as a stand-out performer for Arizona State University before turning pro.

It’s been a tough transition to the paid circuit ever since for the former Sun Devil but there’s no doubting her retained ability and a shift to pastures that provided her golfing glory days to date might just bring out the best in her.

Mehaffey is joined in the field by two-time Epson Tour champion, Fatima Fernandez Cano who returns to Arizona defending her 2022 title.

The Spaniard used the 2022 tournament in Mesa, Arizona as a warm-up, preparing for the LPGA Tour season ahead of her. Unfortunately, Cano did not have the results she hoped for on the LPGA Tour and returned to the Epson Tour in 2023. Defending her title, and securing another win at Longbow Golf Club, would put Cano in a good position early on to work her way back to the big stage in 2024.

The sole 2023 Epson Tour champion thus far, Agathe Laisne (pronounced Lenny) will tee it up at the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic following her win at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic. After securing her first Epson Tour win in early March, Laisne is confident in her game and ready to win again. Currently No. 1 on the Epson Tour’s official money list, Laisne could better her chances at staying in the top 10 with a strong finish in Mesa.

2023 Epson Tour rookie, Heather Lin came out firing in her professional debut at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic. Finishing T4 gave Lin confidence and momentum as she transitions from college golfer to professional. The 23-year-old was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection and helped lead the University of Oregon to its Pac-12 title in program history.

The Epson Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour, the world’s leading competitive destination for female professional golfers. With the support of entitlement partner Seiko Epson Corporation, the Tour, entering into its 43rd competitive season in 2023, aims to prepare the world’s best female professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. In the last decade, the Epson Tour has grown from 15 tournaments and $1.6 million in total prize money to hosting more than 20 events and awarding $4.9 million in 2023. With more than 600 graduates and alumnae moving on to the LPGA Tour, former Epson Tour players have won 466 LPGA titles.

Mehaffey tees off at 2pm Irish time today [Thursday]. Mehaffey bounced back from an opening day 78 with a second round 69 in the event a year ago but ultimately fell short of the weekend cut.

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