‘I want to be world number one’ says Olivia

Valerie Hassett (President, Irish Ladies Golf Union) presenting Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL) with the 2015 Irish Under18 Girl's Open Strokeplay trophy after her victory at Roganstown Golf Club today (19/04/2015). Also in the picture is Aine Derham (Lady Captain, Roganstown Golf Club). Picture by Pat Cashman
Valerie Hassett (President, Irish Ladies Golf Union) presenting Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL) with the 2015 Irish Under18 Girl's Open Strokeplay trophy after her victory at Roganstown Golf Club today (19/04/2015). Also in the picture is Aine Derham (Lady Captain, Roganstown Golf Club). Picture by Pat Cashman

Banbridge girl Olivia Mehaffey is full of ambition.

She has set her sights on completing a Northern Irish double by claiming the world number one spot in golf’s female world rankings, emulating Rory McIlroy’s success in the men’s game.

Winner Olivia Mehaffey (Royal County Down Ladies) watching her chip at the second tie hole in the playoff at the 2015 Irish Under18 Girl's Open Strokeplay Final Day at Roganstown Golf Club today (19/04/2015) Picture by Pat Cashman

Winner Olivia Mehaffey (Royal County Down Ladies) watching her chip at the second tie hole in the playoff at the 2015 Irish Under18 Girl's Open Strokeplay Final Day at Roganstown Golf Club today (19/04/2015) Picture by Pat Cashman

And why not? The 17 year-old is certainly proving to be a born winner already. On Sunday she clinched the Irish Girls U18 Open Strokeplay Championship for the third year in a row.

And now full of confidence, she hopes her dominance in Irish golf can 
spread worldwide.

“I want to give myself a chance of becoming the world number one and winning majors,” she said.

“Then plan is to turn pro and play of the American Tour once I finish university at Arizona State, where I will be starting in September 2016. We have a really good team at university so it will be great preparation for me.”

Winner for the third year in a row Olivia Mehaffey (Royal County Down Ladies) at the 2015 Irish Under18 Girl's Open Strokeplay Final Day at Roganstown Golf Club today (19/04/2015) Picture by Pat Cashman

Winner for the third year in a row Olivia Mehaffey (Royal County Down Ladies) at the 2015 Irish Under18 Girl's Open Strokeplay Final Day at Roganstown Golf Club today (19/04/2015) Picture by Pat Cashman

It took a birdie at the second play-off hole for Olivia to secure victory over England’s Samantha Fuller at Roganstown on Sunday.

“It was brilliant, especially when it’s a win that means so much,” she said.

“There had been a lot of pressure on me because everybody was talking about me completing a hat-trick but I had so much support as well. Even a lot of the older Irish girls came down to 
cheer me on.

“I didn’t feel much pressure going going into the final round because I was coming from three shots behind. I just wanted to go out and card a good score so I was happy to get into the play-off and give myself a chance of winning.

“Once I got there, I wasn’t nervous. A year or two ago, I probably would have been but I’m getting more used to it now. I was focused on getting that birdie and I managed to get up and down on the second play-off 
hole to win.”

Now it’s off to Royal Troon for the Banbridge High School pupil, who will this weekend compete for the Helen Holm Scottish Open, where she finished six shots behind last year.

“Now I’ve got that first win of the season and I’ve got more confidence so hopefully I can give myself a chance again,” she said.

Whatever happens this weekend, another Banbridge sporting star is on the rise.