Douglas teenager Sara Byrne crowned Close champion

Sara Byrne believes her golf career has hit a new level after capturing the Irish Women’s Close Championship title at Enniscrone.

The talented teenager managed to secure a hard-fought 2&1 victory in the final against Malone’s Louise Coffey to bag the biggest win of her career.

“This is definitely my number one achievement to date,” said the Douglas star. “This brings my golf career up a step and any event I play in I can tell myself that I can win because I am Irish champion.”

After a cagey opening which saw the first two holes halved, Coffey held the first advantage when she birdied hole three but Byrne didn’t let that affect her.

“I was quite calm and that was the main thing,” she continued. “When I went down I was thinking it’s better to have the lead at the end than the start.

“I know in matchplay that it always goes up and down so if she was up at the start that was fine because I was confident that I would be up at the end.

I had the mentality that 1up was nothing, that could change in one or two holes.

Byrne ensured it did change, as she raced into a two-hole lead by taking the fifth, sixth, and seventh. She went on to extend her lead on 12 before losing back-to-back holes to let Coffey back into the match as the rain started to pour down.

“Once I gained the lead I didn’t want to do anything too special, I just wanted to go and make pars, pars were my friend out there,” said Junior Vagliano player Byrne.

“On the final few holes I got a bit nervous but I told myself that I had worked too hard to give this away.

When the rain came it came heavy and that was difficult so I just took my time getting my hands and the clubs dry and made sure I was feeling comfortable over the ball.

She held her nerve to birdie the 15th but Coffey cancelled that out on the following hole.

However, a par on 17 was all Byrne needed to take the title and she couldn’t hide her emotions after claiming the silverware.

“I just started crying. It still hasn’t sunk in,” said the 17-year-old.

“That feeling is never going to go away, it’s just too good. It’s amazing.

“This is number one, the best. This brings golf to a totally new level.”

Byrne had earlier beaten Sarah Cunningham (Ennis) 2&1 in the semi-finals while Coffey saw off Meadhbh Doyle (Portarlington) by the same scoreline.



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