Mehaffey leads Irish hopes at Dundonald as Maguires falter
Curtis Cup star Olivia Mehaffey is leading the Irish challenge after the first qualifying round of the British Ladies Open Amateur Championship over the Dundonald links.
The teenage Irish stroke-play champion from Royal County Down carded a two-over-par 74 in difficult windy conditions in Ayrshire to put herself in a strong position for a place in the match-play draw.
Mehaffey had a mixed round, with an eagle three on the third and birdies on five and 15 but a double-bogey six on the seventh.
She was three strokes adrift of early leader Leslie Cloots of Belgium, who had her first-ever hole in one at the 245-yard sixth.
Leona Maguire, one of the favourites for the title ,was a trifle disappointed with her 77, which included four bogeys on the bounce from the third and a double-bogey six at the 13th.
Her twin sister Lisa will need to step up several gears today if she is to keep her hopes alive as she slumped to an opening 81 - she is outside the top 100.
Castleroy's Chloe Ryan recorded a 78 despite a triple-bogey seven on the 17th while Lisburn's Paula Grant had a lack-lustre 80.
Following today's second qualifying round the top 64 players go forward to the knockout stages culminating in the 18-hole final on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Paul McBride will be hoping to put his Amateur Championship disappointment behind him as he bids for Brabazon Trophy glory at London Golf Club starting this morning.
The 20-year-old Island man put in a gutsy display to reach the semi-finals at Royal Porthcawl last week, before he went out in dramatic fashion on the 20th hole at the hands of eventual runner-up Robert MacIntyre of Scotland.
Sean Flanagan of County Sligo, who went out in round two last week, is also competing, as are Dermot McElroy and Jack Hume, who were both knocked out in the first round of match play at the Amateur.
The first round exit was a blow for Hume, and the World No 4 will be looking to bounce back this week and follow in the footsteps of Walker Cup team-mate and compatriot Cormac Sharvin, who won last year's event.
Also competing at the Brabazon are reigning Irish Amateur Open champion Colm Campbell, St Andrews Links Trophy winner Conor O'Rourke, Jonathan Yates, Tiarnan McLarnon, Rowan Lester, Alex Gleeson, Colin Fairweather, John-Ross Galbraith and Daniel Brennan.