Thursday 15 November 2018

Mehaffey shines but Ireland ladies have their work cut out

Mehaffey finished with a seven-under 65. (Stock picture)
Mehaffey finished with a seven-under 65. (Stock picture)

Carl Williams

Ireland sit in seventh heading into the second day of stroke play qualifying in the European Ladies' Team Championship after some champagne golf from Curtis Cup star Olivia Mehaffey at Murhof, Austria.

She made an impressive start with five birdies between holes one and seven before hitting a bogey on the eighth. But she recovered well to hit three more birdies to finish with a seven-under 65.

Lurgan's teenage sensation Annabel Wilson was also under par with 70 along with Castlewarden's Lauren Walsh, who carded 71.

Last year's Irish Women's Close champion Paula Grant (Lisburn) enjoyed a hole-in-one on 13 and matched par with 72. Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little) shot 76 and Mairead Martin (Kanturk) carded 79 to leave Ireland on 354, 10 strokes off leaders France and five ahead of Scotland, in ninth.

The boys are also seventh after an encouraging opening round at Kaskada, Czech Republic.

Kilkenny's Mark Power was the only one to hit under par with a two-under 70. Holywood's Tom McKibbin (73), Lisburn's Aaron Marshall (74), Rosslare's John Brady (75) and Athenry's David Kitt (76) all added to the score while Odhran Maguire, of Slieve Russell, shot 80, which was ignored.

They are currently on 368, 14 shots behind leaders Spain, and will need another good round to ensure qualification to Flight A with 13th-placed Finland only three shots behind.

At Forsgardens, Sweden, the girls are eighth and must improve if they are to challenge for the title. Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) was the stand-out performer as she carded a one-under 71. Their tally of 379 sees them 12 shots behind early leaders Italy.

Meanwhile, the men have work to do in Bad Saarow, Germany, as they currently sit in ninth place.

Robin Dawson (Tramore) continued his recent good form with a solid five-under 67 while St Andrews Links Trophy winner John Murphy (Kinsale) followed that up with 68, four-under par.

Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk) was able to match par with 72 but Jonathan Yates (Naas) and Hermitage's Rowan Lester hit 75 and 77 respectively to drive the score up to 359. England lead the way on 349, 11-under par.

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