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Retaining grip on Curtis Cup is Olivia Mehaffey's New Year resolution


Early start: Olivia Mehaffey has been doing her homework in New York
Early start: Olivia Mehaffey has been doing her homework in New York

By Paul Kelly

Christmas is the ideal time of year to take a break - unless, of course, you're Olivia Mehaffey.

The 20-year-old Irish international hasn't stopped since flying back home from the US where she is in the second year of a golf scholarship at Arizona State University.

Mehaffey is in full prep mode, planning for a 2018 that she hopes will include a successful defence of the Curtis Cup with GB&I.

The Banbridge golfer was named on the 14-player provisional GB&I squad last week along with three other Irish internationals, Paula Grant (Lisburn), Annabel Wilson (Lurgan) and the leading amateur player in the world, Leona Maguire (Slieve Russell).

"I think we will have a really strong team this year," said Mehaffey, who is currently ranked 13th in the world.

The 40th Curtis Cup match will be played between June 8-10 next year at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in New York. GB&I will be attempting to retain the title after an 11.5-8.5 win over the US at Dun Laoghaire GC, Co Wicklow in 2016.

In preparation, six potential GB&I team members, including Mehaffey, Wilson and Maguire, met up at the venue last month for a bit of reconnaissance.

"It was really nice to get out there and play the course. It means that whoever gets picked on the team has that bit of knowledge which will certainly help," added Mehaffey, who won 3.5 points on her Curtis Cup debut at Dun Laoghaire.

"It was a typical parkland with greens that were very quick and had plenty of slope."

The eight-player team will be announced on April 26 next year. The two highest ranked World Amateur Golf Ranking players on April 25 automatically make the team, with six players selected by the R&A's women's selection committee.

Given her impressive individual matchplay record - she won three out of three to help Arizona win the NCAA title last May - it would be something of a shock not to see Mehaffey make the team but she's not taking anything for granted, which is why she was at Carton House last week working with coach Donal Scott.

"The game is good. I'm very happy with how I played this semester, I'm just making a few changes," added Mehaffey.

"I'm working on some new stuff now to get ready for next year."

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