Sara Byrne has all the attributes to make a success of Division I collegiate golf in the United States when the 2018 Irish Women’s champion takes up a full scholarship to the University of Miami later this summer.
That is according to the teenager’s short and long game coach Fred Twomey who has seen the Douglas golfer take huge strides in the development of her game over the last couple of years.
The GUI Munster coach, head pro at Muskerry GC, has seen past pupils like Seamus Power and Cian McNamara make successes of their time in US collegiate golf, and Byrne seems set fair for similar success when she joins the Hurricanes golf team and head coach Patti Rizzo in Miami.
“She’s been doing lots of short-game stuff for America in our recent lessons,” Twomey told the Irish Examiner.
“She’s tough to teach because she will argue and ask you, which is what good players do.
“Her swing (speed) has now gone over 100 miles per hour so she’s hitting the ball 20 or 30 yards further and she’s been working on strengthening her forearms and she now hits the ball further than the average LPGA Tour player.
“Her whole body has improved, her swing, her short game and her putting, it’s all better and if there were tournaments on at the moment I’d say she’s definitely be winning big tournaments again because she’s done the work. She will be rusty from a competitive point of view but give her another month or two and she’ll be better again.
“She’ll also be going to a top school in Florida where the weather is consistently good so that will stand to her as well.”
Byrne has long signaled her intent to take up a scholarship in America following her Leaving Cert studies but her familiarity with Florida from regular family trips to the state and the facilities at the University of Miami made the Hurricanes a no-brainer, she told their website following the official confirmation of her decision on Thursday.
“I got plenty of full scholarship offers, but I knew right away when I arrived on campus that Miami was the place for me. The strong academics, as well as a great golf team and coaching staff, matched with the hot weather, really made me fall in love with the University of Miami.”
The Hurricanes are equally enthused about Byrne’s arrival with assistant coach John Koskinen adding: “Her swing fundamentals are great and I loved how scrappy she is on the course. She has tons of fight in her.
“Once we spoke to Sara, we knew we wanted her on the team. Her bubbly personality is going to be a great addition. Having someone who will bring the team up during any times of struggle will be priceless for us.
“The nice thing about Sara’s game is that she is a very well-rounded player. She does everything very well. I think we can spend most of the time talking about strategy on the course and trying to eliminate small mental errors.
“Building up her confidence will be huge for Sara. When a player starts to believe in themselves the way we believe in them, they become a dangerous weapon.”