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Mehaffey thrilled with late call-up to US Open

By Paul Kelly

Olivia Mehaffey will get her first taste of life inside the ropes at a US Women's Open after receiving a late call-up to play in this week's event at Shoal Creek, Alabama.

"It is a great learning opportunity to get to do this as an amateur," said the 20-year-old, who is ranked 20th in the world.

"I'm excited to get out there and be in that environment."

The Banbridge-born golfer, who has just completed the second year of her college career at Arizona State, tried to play her way into the tournament via qualifying on May 14 but agonisingly came up one shot short.

However, she gratefully accepted the invite received on Sunday evening and hopped on an early flight yesterday morning to Alabama.

The last golfer from Northern Ireland to compete in the US Women's Open was Stephanie Meadow, who remarkably finished in third place, three shots behind the winner Michelle Wie, on her pro debut in 2014.

This will not be Olivia's first experience of Major golf, she competed in last year's Ricoh British Open, carding rounds of 72 and 75 to miss the cut.

"I'm excited, anytime you get the opportunity to tee it up with the professionals and play majors is amazing," she added.

"I love the big events, the crowds and being surrounded by great players."

It's the start of a busy summer of golf for Olivia, who will go from the US Open to the Curtis Cup in New York (June 8-11) followed by the Palmer Cup at Evian Resort GC (July 6-8).

Olivia will be joined in the Curtis Cup team by Lisburn's Paula Grant as Great Britain and Ireland attempt to retain the title they won at Dun Laoghaire GC two years ago.

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