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Golf ace Olivia Mehaffey is setting sights on future glory

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland's latest golfing sensation Olivia Mehaffey was back at college in Newry yesterday after claiming the biggest win of her life at the weekend.

No taking it easy and soaking up the victory for the bright and bubbly 17-year-old from Banbridge, who is studying Sports Science.

For the determined teenager there was a morning trip to the gym, her lectures and then thoughts on her golf game, which she believe is in the best shape of her young life.

On Sunday, with her proud dad Philip acting as caddie, Mehaffey won the Scottish Open Amateur strokeplay championship, overcoming a strong international field and tough conditions to win by one shot from France's Anais Meyssonnier after a final round 75 at Royal Troon.

That success came just a week on from Olivia being crowned Irish Girls Open Strokeplay Champion for the third time.

Now she has her sights set on what would be a terrific treble with the Welsh Amateur Open the next challenge on the horizon.

Considered a promising young golfer for some time, Mehaffey appears to be moving on to a different with those back-to-back triumphs.

And she puts it down to good old fashioned hard work.

"I'm hitting the ball really well at the moment, probably better than I ever have," she revealed.

"I put it down to the amount of work I am doing on my game and with my coach Robbie Cannon. He is a great mentor for me. My confidence has increased because of that.

"Also I was playing in a tournament in France against the world number 30 and our match went to an extra-play-off hole and that gave me a lot of belief for this year.

"Winning the Irish Girls Open gave me even more confidence and to have won the Scottish Open is the biggest victory I've had so far.

"I didn't realise I had actually won the tournament until I finished my round. My dad had told me near the end that I was leading but it wasn't until after I had marked up my card and some other Irish girls, who were playing at the tournament, jumped all over me to celebrate that I knew I had won. It was a great feeling.

"I go to Wales this week to play in the Welsh Amateur Open, which finishes on Sunday and I'm hoping for another good performance there."

Mehaffey says in the past that she has tried to play in too many tournaments, but she has decreased the workload in her schedule for 2015.

"That has helped. I have always overplayed in the past. I think I have the balance right now," she states.

Her golfing heroes are Rory McIlroy and Stephanie Meadow and like the latter she has gained a scholarship to go to America ahead of turning professional.

"Next September I'm going to Arizona State University for four years and then my ambition is to turn professional after that," she says.

"What Stephanie has done and already achieved is a big inspiration to me.

"I love golf and can't imagine my life without it and am really determined to do well in the sport in the future."

And her dad's assessment after carrying his daughter's golf bag for her most impressive and important triumph to date?

"It was brilliant for Olivia to win at the weekend.

"She puts in a great deal of work and is enjoying it which really matters," said the doting father.

Smiling, he added: "And we didn't fall out with me being the caddie!"

Olivia's verdict: "Dad did just fine.

"When I travel abroad to play, my family can't go so to have them at my tournament wins in the last few weeks has been fantastic."

Belfast Telegraph


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