The 32 qualifiers at the Irish Women’s Close Championship took to the beautiful old course at Lahinch this morning in perfect playing conditions as an abundance of sunshine descended on the course.

In the top half of the draw, leading qualifier Sinead Sexton (Lahinch) carried through her form to cruise through to the Championship match play after a resounding win over fellow home member Valerie Shannon. Two junior internationals Valerie Clancy (Killarney) and Lisa O’Shea (Shannon) battled it out but Clancy came out on top to progress through to tomorrow. Mary Doyle (The Heath) was down throughout the majority of the match but made a strong finish to hold off Aedin Murphy (Carlow). Great play from Munster competitors Paula Walsh (Doneraile), Sara Byrne (Douglas) and Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) saw them all come out on top, as well as in form Malone golfer Louise Coffey.

Chloe Ryan (Castletroy) continues to lead the way in the bottom half of the draw as she overcame local member Olivia Lucas on the 14th, after holing out for eagle 3. Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe) managed to overcome Catriona Griffin (Killarney) on the 19th and will face Ryan tomorrow morning. Tipperary native Aoife Lowry dominated her match against Orla Dunphy (Kilkenny) and will face Rachel Thompson (Cork). Curtis Cup team members Maria Dunne (Skerries) and Olivia Mehaffey (RCDL) eased through their matches to progress to the Championship match play. Lauren Walsh (Castlewarden) and Mairead Martin (Killarney) also emerged victorious.

The 16 first round winners will now compete in the Championship match play and those who were unsuccessful in the first round are through to the plate. All information for the Irish Women’s Close Championship, including the match play draw can be found HERE.

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