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Historic day for Mehaffey as she stars at Augusta


Good show: Olivia Mehaffey
Good show: Olivia Mehaffey

By Phil Casey

Olivia Mehaffey finished tied for 23rd at the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship.

The County Down native carded a four-over par 76 to finish the 54-hole tournament on five-over, 15 shots behind winner Jennifer Kupcho.

Mehaffey qualified for the final round at the Masters venue having shot one-over through the first 36 holes at the Champions Retreat Club.

The famous course did not allow female members until 2012.

The 21-year-old was level after the front nine, following a bogey on four with a birdie at the next.

Four dropped shots on the back nine saw Mehaffey, who is on a scholarship at Arizona Statue University, slip down the leaderboard. American Kupcho was part of a thrilling final pairing with Mexico's Maria Fassi but finished strongly with an eagle on the 13th before birdies at 15 and 16.

A birdie at the last sealed a historic four-shot victory for the amateur world number one in the first year of the tournament.

The historic Georgia course will host the first men's major of the year on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Graeme McDowell shot an impressive final round six under 66 to finish on 12 under par at the Valero Texas Open.

McDowell came into the tournament knowing that only a win would book his place at Augusta National.

• Malaysian golfer Arie Irawan has died, aged just 28 in his hotel room during the Sanya Championship on the Chinese resort island of Hainan.

A PGA Tour statement said Irawan's death was because of "apparent natural causes" but a coroner's report had not been completed. Irawan, who turned professional in 2013, had missed the cut at the PGA Tour China Series tournament. Organisers cancelled the final round out of respect for Irawan's family.

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