Photo: Pat Cashman
Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) has won the Irish Girls’ Close Championship at Galway Golf Club.
Leading from the start, Coulter won the Muwick Cup for best stroke play qualifier with rounds of 72 and 74 but that would not be the only silverware for her to take home as she also secured the Violet Haslett Cup as best under sixteen qualifier and the big one – the Black Cup.
The Kirkistown Castle native needed no more than seventeen holes in any of her matches this week, it was a different story for her fellow finalist Sara Byrne. Byrne, who had been three ahead with three holes to play in her semi-final match, needed 24 holes to book herself into the final. Aine Donegan’s comeback included a birdie on the 17th and a chip in on the 18th and when the first five extra holes were halved in pars, Byrne’s 30-foot eagle putt on the 6th was needed to break the stalemate.
In the final, Coulter was 3 up through six holes but another eagle from Byrne on 7 was followed by a birdie on the 8th. Coulter had to refocus.
‘Walking down the 10th I was thinking if I can be 4 under and she beats me then fair play, well done. Four under did the job this morning against Anna [Foster]. I birdied 10, 12, 13, 14 and then had a chance on 16, I only needed a par but I was trying still trying to make it!’
Coulter and Byrne played in the final of the Irish Girls Champioinship Pat Fletcher Trophy (Plate) in 2016, on that occasion the match went to the 22nd hole. So how does it feel now to be an Irish Girls’ Champion at the age of fifteen?
‘It feels so weird, I was actually getting quite emotional walking up to the green there. Once Sara got ahead I was worried – but I knew I was playing well enough that I could bring it back so I was just trying to make as many birdies as possible and I got the job done in the end.’
Coulter’s secret weapon this week was a local caddy – Alan Conneely.
‘Oh my god, he was unbelievable all week. He knows this place inside out, every blade of grass. He caddied for me in the practice round and all week so has only known me for five days but he knows all my yardages and everything now, so he was so helpful.’
Anna Dawson (Tramore) was winner of the Pat Fletcher Trophy second flight as she beat Emma Fenlon (Grange) on the 20th having been three down with five holes to play.
Both Coulter and Dawson will now travel to the Czech Republic on Monday morning to represent Ireland at the European Young Masters.