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Mehaffey delighted with Augusta return but a third visit may have to wait due to professional plans


Olivia Mehaffey

Olivia Mehaffey

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Olivia Mehaffey

It may not have ended in the Butler Cabin like she would have hoped, but Olivia Mehaffey declared herself delighted with her week at Augusta National.

The Banbridge woman finished ninth at the Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship, two shots back of winner Tsubasa Kajitani of Japan, who defeated Emilia Migliaccio in a play-off.

But the week signalled progression for Mehaffey, who was 23rd on her first appearance at Augusta in 2019, but this time was right in the mix down the stretch and, had it not been for a horror stretch which saw her drop four shots from the ninth to the 12th, then it could have ended much differently.

But, despite not triumphing, it was still a fine tournament for the 23-year-old, who shot the best 18-hole score in the opening two rounds at Champions Retreat - a three-under 69 on Thursday - and she was left with only positive memories to take away.

"It's very different when you're not in contention and I wasn't in contention (in 2019)," she said.

"It's very different when you're in contention and you're not just playing and trying to enjoy it."

The killer blow came at the par-three 12th where Mehaffey fatted a nine-iron into Rae's Creek and took a double-bogey, dropping her well off the pace.

Although she steadied the ship after that, she couldn't find the birdie that would have sent her into the play-off, and when her attempt at the 18th slid just wide, her race was run.

"But even after (the 12th) I was thinking, okay, I can get some birdies. Nobody was running away with it, it was pretty tight the whole day," said Mehaffey.

"I was still thinking, try and get some birdies, and I thought I hit a really nice shot into 13 and I would love to watch it back; a few feet away from being pretty good. But, yeah, I still felt like I was still in it."

That's due to be Mehaffey's final appearance at Augusta as she will be ineligible for next year's event as she's planning to turn professional soon. But would she be keen to return to Georgia for another round some day?

"Oh, gosh, in a heartbeat, I'd love to," she added with a smile.

Belfast Telegraph

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