McVeigh in at deep end after joining paid ranks
The Ladies European Tour offers a good living if a player can make it into the upper echelons, but the tough part is getting there, as Danielle McVeigh will soon find out.
The 23-year-old announced yesterday she was turning professional after a glittering amateur career. On Friday, she will jump right in at the deep end among a star-studded field in the Ladies Irish Open at Killeen Castle, with world No 3 and 2008 winner Suzann Pettersen the latest top player to enter the tournament.
A grounded and personable individual, McVeigh has proven herself among the amateurs by winning the Irish Close and Irish Stroke Play championships plus the British Amateur Open stroke play and the Helen Holm Scottish stroke play titles.
She played on the GB and Ireland Curtis Cup team that lost to the USA, and on the Vagliano Cup (GB and Ireland versus Europe) team.
McVeigh, from Kilkeel, said: "The time is right for me to progress and I have always wanted to turn pro. Golf is such a big part of my life and with my studies now complete, it is the right time to focus entirely on my game.
"I am really excited about competing against some of the top lady golfers in Europe on a regular basis.
"I have had so much support from everyone back home, especially my club, Royal County Down. Playing at such a world-class course has paid dividends in my amateur career."
McVeigh also thanked the ILGU and the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland for their part in her success, and paid a special tribute to her father, who passed away last year.
"My greatest inspiration has been my father," she said. "He introduced me to the sport he loved when I was about 11.
"He always encouraged me and I know he would be really delighted that I am turning pro."
Tickets for the Ladies Irish Open are €10 per day. Children go free. www.ladiesirishopen.ie.