Golf

Olivia Mehaffey boosts Irish hopes of World success at Carton House

Olivia Mehaffey (Royal County Down)
Tony McGee

The cream of the world's amateur golfers, both men and women, will arrive in Ireland next month for the World Championships, the women's Espirito Santo Trophy and the men's Eisenhower Trophy, with Carton House being the scene of the action from August 29 until September 8.

This is the first time that the competitions will be staged in Ireland.

The first shots will be struck on Wednesday, August 29 when the women's teams begin the battle for the Espirito Santo Trophy.

Republic of Korea are defending champions following their victory in Mexico two years ago but Ireland will present a strong home challenge, having finished third in 2016 to take the bronze medal for the first time.

Ireland's chances of another successful championship are enhanced by the presence of Royal County Down Curtis Cup player Olivia Mehaffey in this year's side. Mehaffey played alongside Leona Maguire and Annabel Wilson in 2016.

The list of former players at the World Amateur Team Championships, who have later been highly successful professionals, includes Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), Se Ri Pak (Republic of Korea), Karrie Webb (Australia), Lorena Ochoa (Mexico), Paula Creamer (USA), Melissa Reid (England), Anna Nordqvist (Sweden) and Lydia Ko (New Zealand).

The Ireland men's team had their first ever podium finish at the Eisenhower Trophy in 2016, taking home bronze medals. This year's team should include Flogas Irish Amateur Open champion Robin Dawson from Tramore, who has reached a high of number 10 on the world amateur golf rankings, following his runner-up places in The (British) Amateur Championship and the European Amateur Championship.

World amateur number one Braden Thornberry will be part of the United States team at Carton House.

Notable past Eisenhower Trophy players include Jack Nicklaus (1960), Phil Mickelson (1990), Tiger Woods (1994), Sergio Garcia (1996 & 1998), Rory McIlroy (2006), Rickie Fowler (2008), Jon Rahm (2014) and Paul Dunne (2014).

Hosted by the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Ladies Golf Union, teams from 72 countries will stay in Maynooth, the majority of whom will reside at a special ‘Athlete Village' style campus in Maynooth University.

the town of Maynooth will be transformed into a golfing hub for two weeks with 10,000 spectators plus 1,000 players and officials attending.

Spectators will get free admission to watch the elite players in action but registration for tickets must be made at www.watc2018.ie

Sandra Barnett, the ILGU Tournament Manager, is enthusiastic about what lies ahead: “This is the largest amateur event to be hosted in Ireland in the last 125 years.

“Golf events are always well supported by the public in this country and more than 10,000 spectators are expected to attend.”

The programme of action will be:

Wednesday, August 29 - Espirito Santo Trophy, First Round.

Thursday, August 30 - Espirito Santo Trophy, Second Round.

Friday, August 31 - Espirito Santo Trophy, Third Round.

Saturday, September 1 - Espirito Santo Trophy, Fourth Round. Women's Awards Ceremony & Gala Dinner (Maynooth University).

Wednesday, September 5 - Eisenhower Trophy, First Round.

Thursday, September 6 - Eisenhower Trophy, Second Round.

Friday, September 7 - Eisenhower Trophy, Third Round.

Saturday, September 8 - Eisenhower Trophy, Fourth Round. Men's Awards Ceremony & Farewell Reception.

-end-

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