Olivia’s Ireland chasing overdue international title

Olivia with the Seapoint GC U21 Ladies Scratch Cup, which she won last weekend.
Olivia with the Seapoint GC U21 Ladies Scratch Cup, which she won last weekend.
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Scarva girl Olivia Mehaffey is off on her travels for a final fortnight flourish of what has been a remarkable season.

Fresh off the back of qualification for next year’s RICOH Women’s British Open and victory in the Seapoint GC U21 Ladies Scratch Cup, Olivia is off to the Ladies Home Internationals at Royal Wimbledon.

Those matches take place from Wednesday until Friday and after Olivia gets off the course, it’s straight to the airport for the 17 year-old, who will then play for Europe in the Junior Solheim Cup.

Olivia and her Ireland side, including Lurgan girls Niamh McSherry and Annabel Wilson, are looking to take the title for the first time since 2004. They’re without world number one Leona Maguire along with their other talents who are on scholarship in America but Olivia reckons they’re still well within a shout of denying England their fourth win in five years.

“Everyone’s team is slightly weakened this week,” she told the ‘LEADER.’ “England have lost some of their best players and we are without some of our girls as well.

“It really is going to come down to who plays the best golf on the day.”

Olivia’s season has lunged from success to success. She won the Scottish and Welsh Ladies’ Open titles this season as well as claiming victory Irish Girls’ and finishing runner up in both the British Strokeplay Championship and the Irish Close Match-Play.

In the mean time, she also represented GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy.

It’s little wonder then that she has risen from 300th to 19th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

She also became the first Irish woman to ever win the LGU Order of Merit, earning her spot in next year’s British Open.

“I don’t think it’s actually sunk in yet because it’s still so far away,” she said, going on to explain why she should listen to her dad a little more.

“Going into the final event that counted for Order of Merit points, I was second, although I didn’t realise I had slipped off the lead. I thought all I had to do was make the cut. I only found out from my dad after the event that I had been second but I did enough anyway.

Dad also said that it got me into the British Open but I didn’t really believe what he was saying. I was sort of like ‘yeah, sure it does,’ but then I went home and checked the website and got a call from the LGU to confirm he was right!”

There were 22 Irish women in the top 100 of the Order of Merit, a shining endorsement for the work on the ILGU.

“It’s been a good year for everyone,” Olivia said. “It says a lot about our High Performances scheme and the work that has gone on behind the scenes.”

Now Olivia is hoping she can thank them by helping to deliver the Home Internationals crown.