Teenager Mehaffey makes history with Merit honour

Olivia Mehaffey playing at the Vagliano Trophie at Malone Golf club in south Belfast
Tony McGee

ANOTHER honour has fallen into the lap of Olivia Mehaffey, as the Royal County Down teenager creates history by becoming the first Irish player to win the Ladies' Golf Union Order of Merit.

She has been named the winner for 2015, beating off the challenges from Curtis Cup players around the British Isles.

It has been a terrific year for the Tandragee 17-year-old who who won the Scottish (Helen Holm Trophy) and Welsh Open Championship titles and was runner-up in the British Strokeplay Championship.

She was also runner-up in the Irish Close Matchplay, at Rosapenna, among many other events in which she figured prominently.

Mehaffey was, of course, a member of the Great Britian & Ireland Vagalino Trophy team that lost narrowly to the Continent of Europe, at Malone, with the very last putt of the tournamant deciding the winners.

The visitors won by 12.5 to 11.5.

Winning the Ladies' Golf Union Order of Merit gives Mehaffey full exemption into next year's Rioch British Open, at Woburn, on the Ladies' Professional European Tour, provided she remains amatuer until then.

There is little doubt about that as she aims to go to college in America 12 months from now.

The Order of Merit is decided on a 52 week cycle and a player must have completed, at least, 17 rounds of golf in the 15 tournaments listed.

That stipulation rules out World Number One Leona Maguire who plays most of her golf during the year in America and, therefore, is not available to compete in the British Isles events for most of the season.

Mehaffey finished 171.12 points ahead of England's Bronte Law, her Vagliano Trophy team colleague.

Last year's winner of the LGU Order of Merit was Annabel Dimmock from Wentworth.

The next highest Irish player in the Order of Merit for 2015 is Cloe Ryan (Castletroy) at Number Four with Marie Dunne (Skerries) 11th, Paula Grant (Lisburn) 12th,Jessica Ross (Donaghadee) 13th, Irish champion Sarah Helly (Enniscrone) 28th, Niamh McSherry (Lurgan) 30th, Mary Doyle (The Heath) 32nd, Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) 35th and Leona Maguire (Slieve Russell) 45th.

There are another 13 Irish in the top 100. It shows the strenth of Irish ladies' golf that Maguire is World Number One and Mehaffey tops the LGU Order of Merit.


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