Olivia_MehaffeyTarget setting is an integral part of the sportsperson’s arsenal. Speak to many of the world’s top athletes and while they might not always share them with you, will always confirm that they have set themselves targets in the short term, medium term and long term.

For 18 year old Olivia Mehaffey, one target which she readily identifies is to be world number one…….amateur that is!

And she is not too far away from achieving her aim as she is currently ranked third in the world and in the first year of a scholarship at the prestigious Arizona State University. A journey that will ultimately lead her to the professional ranks.

And despite the intensity of her studies and golf in America, she did find time to make it home to Northern Ireland for Christmas, though the work on and off the course did not stop. She spent much of the holidays in the practice ground at Royal County Down as she continued to work on her game.

“Life is pretty intense at the moment what with classes, practice and study but I am learning some new life skills too.

The practice facilities at ASU are top class and I am also learning to play different types of grasses as well. I played three tournaments in the Fall season but we will have eight tournaments this Spring starting in February. So there is a lot of golf, pretty much every day but the weather is nice so it’s not too bad.”

“It’s incredible to have Leona (Maguire) number one and me number three but ideally I’d like to be number one before I turn pro as it will guarantee a lot of starts. It’s something to aim for and hopefully if I play some good golf this year I’ll have a chance.”

With such a hectic schedule with her college commitments, there is obviously pressure on Olivia to pick and choose her tournaments carefully. This means that some events on this side of the ocean will lose out.

“I cannot play in everything and I will be in the US until the end of May. Once I come home I will prioritise some events. It will be nice to play the British Open and I will also play the British Amateur and the European Individual. I am also hoping to be selected on the Vagliano Trophy team and I will try to qualify for the US Open.”