Olivia Mehaffey intends to use the adversity of the past year to fuel a bid to make her dream come true.
Mehaffey, currently at home in Scarva after her degree at Arizona State University where she was on a golf scholarship, will watch Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry - last summer's Open champion at Royal Portrush - go for glory this weekend at the US PGA Championship before ramping up her preparations for the Open at Royal Troon.
The glamour European Major will be a crucial step towards realising her ultimate dream of turning professional - an ambition that has been knocked off course by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Add to that a broken hand sustained in a fall on a family trekking trip in the Mourne Mountains which wiped out last summer's golfing action and it is clear it has been a challenging year for the 22-year-old who started playing the game at the tender age of six with dad Philip at Tandragee Golf Club.
"I had been due to turn professional around now but, because of the pandemic, Qualifying School has been cancelled. So I have basically had to put everything back a year," she explained.
"I will play on the college circuit for another year and am going to do a Masters in Organisational Leadership. It relates to leadership in sport so it's an area I have experience in," said Mehaffey, whose degree is in Business, Sport and Media.
"But my focus is still very much on turning professional on the LPGA Tour in America. That's been my dream since I was about six-years-old.
"A good year in college golf would probably get me a few invites for professional tournaments, but I will still have to go through Q School which will be very stressful."
Mehaffey returned home from the States in March when the pandemic was taking a strong grip, rather than ending up isolated on the opposite side of the Atlantic from her family. She will have to quarantine when she returns to the US following the Open to compete in the ANA Inspiration in California, another of the women's game's Majors.
"Quarantining is just something you have to do and doesn't really bother me. I will still be able to go out and practice but will obviously have to observe social distancing," said Mehaffey, acknowledging America's high Covid-19 rates. "I will try to be really careful about everything when I get back to the US. It's all about staying safe."
Mehaffey has enjoyed playing in local tournaments during her prolonged stay at home.
"I am playing well - my game is in good shape. When I am back home it's easy enough to adjust because playing here is still second nature to me. I love coming back home to play on links courses," she said.
"The game over in the States is very different to back home with thick rough and fast greens. And obviously the weather is a big factor. I grew up playing in the wind and rain but it's unusual to play in the rain over there.
"I have played college golf for the last four years and it has really helped develop my game and prepare me for life on the LPGA Tour in the States.
"I would encourage any young player to give college golf in the States a go. It really brings your game on but there's much more to it than that - it develops you as a person. You are moving away from home - and not just up the road, half way around the world. You have to do everything for yourself. You gain a lot of independence and confidence."
Mehaffey feels she is back to her best after that painful broken hand, an injury which eventually required surgery.
"I thought it would heal with time but my coach in the US recommended surgery and I ended up going to Santry Sports Clinic in Dublin where the staff did a wonderful job," she said.
"I struggled when I first got back playing after the injury, but you have to put it behind you. I missed some big tournaments like the Open and British Amateur."
Mehaffey will use her battles as inspiration when she plays in the Open - alongside Ulster professionals Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire - at Royal Troon, starting on August 20.
Mehaffey - who has already played in three Major tournaments - qualified for the Open through being the highest-ranked amateur in Great Britain and Ireland. And she intends to make a big impact in what will be her third Open Championship.
"The Open was one of the first professional events I played in and showed me where my game needed to be," said Mehaffey, a member at Royal County Down. "Royal County Down is always a really tough test and good preparation for Troon."
Add in the fact that Mehaffey already knows what it takes to triumph at Troon - winning the Scottish Amateur Championship as a 17-year-old back in 2015 - and it's obvious she will be heading to the west coast of Scotland full of confidence.
"I have very good memories of the course so I am really looking forward to playing there again," she said. "When I have played in Majors in the past, a big part of it was for the experience but now I really want to be competing. I am close to turning professional so these are the tournaments I need to be doing well in."
Given Mehaffey's busy schedule across the pond, she rarely gets to tournaments to see the likes of McIlroy and Tiger Woods in action. But one silver lining from last summer's injury was that she made it along to the historic Open at Royal Portrush and was delighted to see Lowry lift the famous Claret Jug.
She said: "It was just unbelievable to see Shane win the Open, a great moment for the sport. Because of the injury I was home and spent the whole week up in Portrush. It was fantastic to be there."
Now Mehaffey intends to write her own chapter in Open history.