Golf

County Down Woman Olivia Mehaffey Set To Make Golfing History Today

County Down Woman Olivia Mehaffey Set To Make Golfing History Today

In a week's time, we'll be mired in the triumphs and tribulations as Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry stride the fairways of Augusta National in their pursuit to be the first man from this part of the world to capture a Masters title. There isn't an Irish man alive that doesn't look the part in a splash of green.

But in a matter of minutes, an Irish woman will write her own piece of golfing history alongside 29 of her peers, when she tees up at the iconic Georgia venue, to play in the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur event.

Olivia Mehaffey is from Scarva, a tiny village snared right on the border between counties Down and Armagh.

At 21, she has the game at her feet.

Currently on a sports scholarship at Arizona State University, on a golf programme that has produced the likes of Paul Casey and Phil Mickelson in the past, Royal County Down member Mehaffey will tee off at 2 o'clock trailing leader and World No. 1 amateur Jennifer Kupcho by six shots.

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Having opened the tournament with a one over par 73 at the sister Champion's Retreat course, she shot four birdies and four bogies at the same venue to card a level par 72 yesterday, safely finding herself in the top-30 from the original field of 72 to qualify for the final round on the National course.

One can't really over-egg this moment in time for women's golf.

It's only as recent as 2012 that the golfing mecca lifted its ban on female members and this round of 18 holes will represent the first time an all-female event has taken place at the home of the Masters.

What a story it would be if an Irish woman, and an Irish man, could toddle down Magnolia Lane as an Augusta champion over the next week and a bit.

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Aaron Strain

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