Knock teenager Katie Poots claims her performance at the Flogas Irish Women and Girls’ Amateur Open has only furthered her belief that she can mix it with the best in the local game.
Only a week after her sensational win at the prestigious Fairhaven Trophy in England, the 16-year-old Belfast girl finished second at Co Louth after duelling with Scotland’s Lorna McClymont down the stretch.
It was the latter who triumphed, however, as three consecutive birdies to finish led to a superb four-under 70 at the Baltray links, which helped her to finish top at nine-under-par, four shots clear of Poots.
The Knock ace didn’t go away empty-handed, claiming the secondary Under-18 title, and she was suitably encouraged by her performance, which she hopes she can carry into the rest of the season.
“I’m delighted, playing pretty solid, so we’ll see what happens next,” said Poots.
“It gives me a lot of confidence that, if I play solid, I know I can win or at least be in contention. Even with the women here from all over the world, I’m up there playing against them, so it gives me a lot of confidence in myself.
“I wasn’t too sure if I could (compete) but with this result, coming second, I’m definitely up there. Keep working on my game and see what happens.”
McClymont had led by a shot going into the final round, one ahead of England’s Millie Thompson — who fell away on day three — and two ahead of Poots, but the Ulster woman tied her at the top with a superb eagle at the par-five ninth.
“I hit my second really well and I wasn’t sure if it was good or in the bunker, but it turned out good and I held the putt. Happy with that,” she said.
However, nobody could disagree that McClymont deserved the victory on the back nine as she moved ahead with a birdie at the par-five 11th and then finished with a flourish, birdieing her final three holes to pull away and put some daylight between herself and Poots.
In response, the local favourite could only reply with nine straight pars.
“Played pretty solid there today, putts just weren’t dropping. Still really happy coming second, though,” added Poots.
“Unfortunately I didn’t make as many birdies as I wanted to on the back nine but I held it together well.
“(Lorna) played class, her putting was class to finish. Delighted for her.”
Further down the leaderboard, Massereene’s Gemma McMeekin finished in a tie for 28th at seven-over, with Clandeboye’s Rebekah Gardner a shot further back in a share of 34th. Rossmore’s Kate Dwyer was 50th at 16-over-par.
Meanwhile, Olivia Mehaffey secured her first top-10 finish since March 2021 as a five-under 67 in her final round at the Communicad de Madrid Ladies Open secured her ninth place.
The Tandragee woman carded six birdies and a bogey in her final round at JARAMA-Race Golf Club to finish 11 shots off runaway winner Ana Pelaez.
The 24-year-old Spaniard finished with a 66 to triumph by six shots for her maiden Ladies European Tour victory.