Beth Coulter insists she will forget about any pressure today as she tees off in the matchplay stages of the R&A Women’s Amateur Championship as the leading strokeplay qualifier.
The Kirkistown Castle woman breezed to the top of the leaderboard after rounds of 69 and 70 saw her lead the 36-hole qualifying by three shots on five-under-par while she was joined by Lahinch’s Aine Donegan and Douglas’ Sara Byrne.
The 19-year-old is the top seed for the last-64 and ordinarily would be in the opening match but because there was a tie for 64th after 36 holes she will have to wait until 12.24 to get her knockout tie underway against someone who progresses from the morning playoff.
“I mean, I will feel the pressure probably a little, but today is a new day, and it’s stroke play yesterday and match play today, so I’ll just kind of forget about it,” said Coulter who was runner-up in the 2021 Girls Amateur Championship.
The Arizona State student is a matchplay specialist having won the AIG Irish Women’s Close Championship last year to add to her impressive CV.
“Yeah, in stroke play, there are a few holes where you have to be a little careful and there’s definitely a few holes that you can go for, like 6, hitting driver and you can get to the green. I mean, we’ll see where the pins are and kind of see the strategy for the match play.
“We play a lot of match play, obviously, here and in Ireland. It’s so competitive and it’s so nice to be playing this format.”
The winner of the event gains entry to the AIG Women’s Open, US Women’s Open, The Amundi Evian Championship and by tradition, will earn an invitation to compete at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
“Obviously, yeah, they are fantastic opportunities,” said Coulter. “They are in the back of the mind somewhere but there’s not too much thought that goes into it. I guess as the week goes on, it creeps in a little bit more.
“Yeah, I think it’s fantastic the opportunity that The R&A give us.”
While Coulter awaits her fate, US Women’s Open bound Aine Donegan will battle Caitlin Peirce of Australia just after 11am while Byrne tackles Rianne Mikhaela Malixi at 9.06am.