By Daragh Small
Irish amateur Áine Donegan says her dream summer continues today when she tees it up in the KPMG Women’s Irish Open on her home course.
The Dromoland golfer who also plays out of Lahinch, is one of ten Irish golfers, and seven amateurs, set to challenge for the prize this week.
Donegan will begin on the tenth in one of the marquee groups alongside leading Irish contender, Leona Maguire, and reigning champion, Klara Spilková.
Star attraction Leona Maguire, local amateur sensation Aine Donegan and defending champion Klara Spilkova head the billing as the marquee three-ball on days one and twohttps://t.co/a8sBB6bTJQ
— Irish Golfer (@IrishGolferMag) August 30, 2023
And the 21-year-old, who burst onto the international scene at the Women’s US Open two months ago, is determined to soak up the atmosphere but make the most of her opportunity on the biggest stage again.
“I’m really excited, it’s great that I have been able to play it this summer loads of times. I know the course inside out,” said Donegan.
“I know people say it a lot but it is a dream come true to actually be playing it at home in Dromoland, on a course that I have been playing for years, since I was about 14 I have been a member in Dromoland.
“Just to have a few friendly faces around, my friends and family from up north are coming down. That’s something that we don’t get a lot, playing abroad all the time and just playing around Ireland. So it’s great to have that.
“I am not too serious of a person. I will be able to step back and enjoy it. Obviously when things need to get serious I will be serious but I am pretty light-hearted like that, so I will definitely have time to enjoy it.
“Beth Coulter is staying with me, we’re very good friends. I said it to her, if you need any help on the course I’ll give it to you. At the end of the day, I know golf is an individual sport but you are always going to help people out, especially your friends.”
A week to remember!
Áine has done us all so proud. She has represented herself, as well as her College, Club and Country, with class and grace.
Áine Donegan - remember the name. pic.twitter.com/eT1aQOiJLR
— Lahinch Golf Club (@LahinchGolfClub) July 10, 2023
It has been a whirlwind couple of months for the Clare native since she starred at Pebble Beach.
And LSU student, Donegan, says she has noticed more and more young Irish golfers emerging through the ranks with Maguire inspiring the next generation.
“I have seen it more this summer, even in and around Lahinch, the amount of juniors out playing, particularly girls,” said Donegan.
“And I think it’s because the sport is being put more on social media and on the TV so that people can see it. If you can’t see it you are not going to do it.
“There is more and more people to look up to now. All of the Irish girls can look up to Leona, the young Irish girls coming on and just starting golf, Leona has done so much for it.
“There will be a lot of young girls out watching this week, so it’s great to see that.”