Friday 24 November 2017

Murphy's flaw earns LGU's first slow-play penalty as Irish hopes fade

Chris Smart

Carlow golfer Aedin Murphy made history for the wrong reasons in the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship at a sun-drenched Ganton in Yorkshire yesterday.

The 21-year-old international became the first player ever to be penalised for slow play in an LGU event, but afterwards she conceded to being aware of the problem.

"It is something I am constantly working on. I try and walk quickly between shots but then have to go through a certain routine or else my concentration goes and I cannot focus," said Murphy.

She has even enlisted the help of new coach Tristan Mallaly. "It is really a problem and one of my goals for this year is to sort it out. That is more important to me than getting into teams."

Murphy and her playing partners in the first qualifying round -- Norwegian Lene Hafsten-Morch and Olivia Birrer from Switzerland -- were warned that they had lost their place on the course and they were put on the clock by officials. It showed that Murphy was by far the slowest of the trio and she was subsequently penalised by a stroke.

"It is unfortunate but in fairness to all players we have to put the system into practice," said the LGU's Sue Simpson.

UPSET

Although visibly upset by the punishment, Murphy accepted the decision and did not launch any sort of attack on the LGU.

Despite the penalty, Murphy still leads the Irish challenge after the first qualifying round as the highly fancied Danielle McVeigh showed the continuing effects following her Curtis Cup efforts in Boston and suffered one of her poorest rounds for some time.

Murphy returned a 79 and still has a realistic chance of making it into the last 64. McVeigh, though, lost two balls on the long ninth for a quadruple-bogey nine in reaching the turn in 45, eight over par.

The 22-year-old from Royal County Down was better on the homeward half to finish on 84, leaving herself quite a task today to make sure of qualifying for the knock-out phase.

"I will go and have a good rest tonight and be refreshed in the morning. I have to look on the positive side,"said the British stroke play champion.

Cork's Gillian O'Leary (27), with one double-bogey and five bogeys, posted an 80, while Sarah Cunningham from Ennis appears out of the hunt after taking 88.

After the first qualifying round there was a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard with American Taylore Karle, Scotland's 18-year-old Curtis Cup player Sally Watson and Canadian Sue Kim all hitting one-under-par 72s.

Irish Independent

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