It was a case of history repeating itself at Co. Louth Golf Club as Lily May Humphreys captured the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship just seven days after securing the Welsh Women’s Open Stroke Play at Royal St. David’s. Just 12 months ago the same feat was achieved by Hannah McCook (Scotland) who now competes on the Ladies European Access Tour.
Humphreys began the day with a three shot lead over Hazel MacGarvie (Scotland) and has her tee time approached, conditions determined the strategy for the day.
“The aim today was to try and just make my pars and take opportunities for birdies when they came – I knew the opportunities weren’t going to be many given the wind so it was about not giving shots away. I did a pretty good job of that on the front nine – I hit three greens and was only one over par so I was quite impressed with myself! I hit eight greens on the back nine which helped settle me and it was a lot less stressful coming in.”
A one-under 73 final round was good for a six shot advantage over Romy Meekers (NED) who finishes runner-up for the second consecutive year.
For Humphreys, the aim is to follow in the footsteps of Georgia Hall, Charley Hull and Lexi Thompson on the LPGA Tour.
“I’ve been home schooled and next year I have my A-levels. After that I’m hoping to turn Professional and I want to go to LPGA Q-School but I am going to go to LET Q-School this year to get the experience. Hopefully I’ll secure some LET invites then to get more experience and move me up a level so I am ready to turn then.”
While conditions proved challenge for some, the best score of the day came from Shannon McWilliam (Scotland), who finished fourth overall with a final rounds 72.
Deirdre Smith attracted a large crowd of home support as she secured a fifth place finish.
“The support I’ve gotten from Baltray is always 100% and I’m very proud to be a member of this club and I hope they’re proud of me.”
Smith finishes best of the home players, however that is not why she continues to play the game.
“It’s not a consideration to be honest, I don’t go out there thinking I want to finish best of the Irish or anything, I want to go out and play the best I can play and if it goes well then so be it. I’m still enjoying playing golf, I’m still enjoying being competitive and if I wasn’t enjoying it I wouldn’t be doing it.”
“At the end of the day I go out there because I enjoy myself, I’m not trying to prove anything, I’m not thinking about scores, I’m only thinking about enjoying it and I really enjoyed the challenge today to be honest.”
For Smith, a long amateur career continues to flourish despite, in her own words, “being around for 100 years!”.
“Just keep enjoying it, if you do that you’ll have longevity but if you’re putting pressure on yourself and you’re trying to score, that’s short term, because if you don’t meet those expectations you end up giving up. If you go out to enjoy yourself, focus on what the sport offers you, the friendships, the fun, the exercise, the fresh air and the courses – you’re a winner every time.”