Wednesday 13 December 2017

Mehaffey surges into contention for medal

Olivia Mehaffey both the Welsh and Irish open stroke-play titles Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile
Olivia Mehaffey both the Welsh and Irish open stroke-play titles Photo: Matt Browne / Sportsfile

Chris Smart

Olivia Mehaffey stormed up the leaderboard in the European Ladies Amateur Championship in Sweden yesterday with a stunning third round display.

The Royal County Down star, holder of both the Welsh and Irish open stroke-play titles, carded a fine four-under-par 68 over the Hooks course to move to five-under overall giving her a share of fourth place.

She goes into the fourth and final round today some seven strokes behind Leslie Cloots, the leader from Belgium, and, more crucially, three adrift of another Belgian Diane Baillieux, who occupies the last medal spot.

Mehaffey, who had recorded scores of 70 and 73 on the previous two days, started well with birdies on two of the first three holes and reached the turn in three-under-par 33 with a birdie also on the short sixth.

On the homeward stretch the teenager was a little more up and down with three birdies, two bogeys and four pars.

She was the only Irish player to shine although Clandeboye's Jessica Ross did manage to qualify for the final 18 holes by the skin of her teeth. Ross posted a five-over-par 77 yesterday for a 54-hole total of 222 to make it on the cut-off point. She dropped three strokes in the final two holes but still survived.

Chloe Ryan of Castletroy ended with a score two strokes too many after a 75 yesterday and former winner Lisa Maguire finished the first three rounds on 17-over par to also crash out.

Elsewhere, world No 2 Dustin Johnson added a 71 to his opening 66 to take the early clubhouse lead on seven-under par after two rounds of the RBC Canadian Open.

Spain's Jon Rahm is a shot back after also carding a 71 yesterday, while joint first-round leader Luke List and defending champion Jason Day were among the later starters last night. An out-of-sorts Graeme McDowell missed the cut on seven-over after adding a 76 to his opening 75.

At Carnoustie, Ronan Rafferty is best of the Irish at halfway in the Senior British Open, his second-round 69 taking him to one-under for the event and a tie for 22nd place.

The lead is held jointly by American Joe Durant and Japan's Kohki Idoki on seven-under.

Brendan McGovern is on one-over and tied for 39th after a 74 (two-over par) yesterday which included five birdies, but Eamonn Darcy and Mark McNulty both missed the cut by just one shot on five-over par.

Jim Carvill, Philip Walton and Peter O'Hagan also missed the weekend's play, while Des Smyth withdrew from the second round having carded an 80 on Thursday.

And next week's Women's British Open at Woburn will be minus its defending champion after Inbee Park pulled out with a thumb injury. The South Korean is concentrating on being fit on next month's Olympics in Rio.

Senior Open Championship

Live, Sky Sports 4, 2.30pm

RBC Canadian Open

Live, Sky Sports 4, 7.0pm

Irish Independent

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