Irish trio struggle as Olson sets the pace in Women’s British Open

Meadow shoots a 75 while Maguire and Mehaffey face a battle to make the cut after registering opening 77s

"Math just didn't make much sense," observed American golfer Amy Olson of the challenges of navigating a route through the sand dunes of Royal Troon in the AIG Women's British Open.

Although the numbers eventually added up for the American who shot an opening round of four-under-par 67 that gave her a three shot-lead after a weather-hampered first round that featured strong winds and intermittent rain showers.

Olson, whose best finish in a Major came with a runner-up finish in the 2018 Evian Championship, kept her composure to claim a three-stroke lead over fellow-American Marina Alex and Germany's Sophia Popov.

It was a day when only three players managed to better par and, for the most part, players were in a battle of attrition with the strong winds, exemplified by Olson claiming to hit a wedge 80 yards into the wind at one point and using the same club for a 176 yards shot downwind.


While Olson kept her focus in difficult conditions to assume the first round lead, the three Irish players in the field were thrown into a battle to survive the cut.

Stephanie Meadow, with an opening 75, four-over-par, for tied-52nd, fought back from three bogeys in her opening four holes to get into a position to make the cut.

Leona Maguire and amateur Olivia Mehaffey each signed for 77s, and were left with work to do to survive the 36-holes cut. Maguire had a rollercoaster round that featured two double-bogeys, three bogeys and a lone birdie on the par five 16th and, in tied-89th position after the opening round, has a bit of work to do to make it into the weekend.

Mehaffey, from Co Down, had one double-bogey, five bogeys and a birdie on 16 in her opening round.

Even before a ball was hit in anger, there was some drama when world-ranked number 18 Jessica Korda withdrew on medical grounds which were "unrelated to Covid-19".

Her sister, Nelly, the world number four, shot an opening round of 72, one-over-par.

British and Irish unless stated,  par 71, (a) denotes amateur
Amy Olson (USA)
70 Marina Alex (USA), Sophia Popov (Ger)
71 Jasmine Suwannapura (Tha), Emily K Pedersen (Den), Nuria Iturrios (Esp), Catriona Matthew, Lee-Anne Pace (Rsa), Anna Nordqvist (Swe), Alena Sharp (Can), Lindsey Weaver (USA), Gaby Lopez (Mex), Daniela Holmqvist (Swe)
72 Yealimi Noh (USA), Elizabeth Szokol (USA), Austin Ernst (USA), Nelly Korda (USA), Caroline Masson (Ger), Katherine Kirk (Aus), In Gee Chun (Kor), Lydia Ko (Nzl), Alison Lee (USA)
73 Stephanie Kyriacou (Aus), Ariya Jutanugarn (Tha), Georgia Hall, Johanna Gustavsson (Swe), Amy Yang (Kor), Michele Thomson, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Angela Stanford (USA), Laura Fuenfstueck (Ger), Lizette Salas (USA)
74 Marianne Skarpnord (Nor), Andrea Lee (USA), Azahara Munoz (Esp), Sanna Nuutinen (Fin), Ashleigh Buhai (Rsa), Nasa Hataoka (Jpn), Eleanor Givens, Sandra Gal (Ger), Ally McDonald (USA), Minjee Lee (Aus), Cydney Clanton (USA), Jennifer Song (USA), Nicole Broch Larsen (Den), Celine Herbin (Fra), Becky Morgan, Haru Nomura (Jpn), Gemma Dryburgh, Kelly Tan (Mal)
75 Caroline Inglis (USA), Stephanie Meadow, Lina Boqvist (Swe), Megan Khang (USA), Katja Pogacar (Slo), Kristen Gillman (USA), Camilla Lennarth (Swe), Xi Yu Lin (Chn), Monique Smit (Rsa), Yui Kawamoto (Jpn), Karolin Lampert (Ger), Linnea Strom (Swe), Sarah Kemp (Aus), Klara Spilkova (Cze), Angel Yin (USA), Maria Fassi (Mex), Perrine Delacour (Fra), Momoko Ueda (Jpn), Pernilla Lindberg (Swe), Hannah Green (Aus)
76 Felicity Johnson, Patty Tavatanakit (Tha), Mi Hyang Lee (Kor), Haley Moore (USA), Su Oh (Aus), Maria Torres (Pue), Hannah Burke, Olivia Cowan (Ger), Tiffany Joh (USA), Charley Hull, Lindy Duncan (USA), Minami Katsu (Jpn), Cheyenne Knight (USA), Danielle Kang (USA), Emma Nilsson (Swe), Stacy Lewis (USA), Hinako Shibuno (Jpn)
77 Dana Finkelstein (USA), Inbee Park (Kor), Kendall Dye (USA), Brittany Lang (USA), Julieta Granada (Pry), Brittany Altomare (USA), Brooke M. Henderson (Can), Jenny Shin (USA), Carlota Ciganda (Esp), Christine Wolf (USA), Jing Yan (Chn), Leona Maguire, Emma Talley (USA), Morgan Pressel (USA), (a) Olivia Mehaffey, Mone Inami (Jpn), Moriya Jutanugarn (Tha), Anne Van Dam (Ned), Yu Liu (Chn)
78 Madelene Sagstrom (Swe), Meghan MacLaren, In-Kyung Kim (Kor), Jennifer Coleman (USA), Melissa Reid, Cristie Kerr (USA), Whitney Hillier (Aus), Pei-yun Chien (Chn), Aditi Ashok (Ind), Charlotte Thomas, Esther Henseleit (Ger), Jennifer Kupcho (USA), Dottie Ardina (Phl), Lexi Thompson (USA), Sarah-Jane Smith (Aus), Kylie Henry, YuJeong Son (Kor), (a) Julia Engstrom (Swe)
79 Caroline Hedwall (Swe), Diksha Dagar (Ind), Charlotte Thompson, Alice Hewson, Tvesa Malik (Ind), (a) Gabriela Ruffels (Aus)
80 Luna Sobron Galmes (Esp), Christina Kim (USA), Jennifer Chang (USA), Bronte Law, Carly Booth, Laura Davies
81 Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Den), Louise Ridderstrom (Swe), Gerina Piller (USA), Manon De Roey (Bel), Celine Boutier (Fra), Ursula Wikstrom (Fin), Annie Park (USA)
85 Tonje Daffinrud (Nor)

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times