Wednesday, June 14, 2006



Claire Coughlan, last year's beaten finalist from Cork, booked her place among the 64 match-play qualifiers at Royal County Down Golf Club with a second-round 73 for a seven-under-par aggregate of 143.
"It was a completely different wind today and I made some wrong club selections, particularly on the short holes, but I'm hitting the ball well and looking forward to the match-play," said the 25-year-old Curtis Cup player and Irish champion of 1999.
"It's a long course that drains you. We took about 4 ΒΌ hr and that's a long time out on a golf course. I'd rather play it in the morning, as I did today, and have the rest of the day to relax rather than the first day when I was finishing about 6 pm."
Claire, who works at a leisure centre, uses her holidays to play in tournaments and she won't be drawn on her future plans.
"I'm just keeping my head down and taking things as they come."
Miss Coughlan, who started at the 10th, highlighted her two-under-par round with a pair of eagles. She got a 3 at the 444yd 13th with a drive, seven-wood and a 10ft putt and another 3 at the 434yd ninth with a drive, six-iron and a 15ft putt.
She also birdied the 15th and sixth but dropped shots at the 17th , the first (with three putts) and two short holes, the fourth and the seventh. She was through the back of the fourth with a six-iron - "It should have been a seven iron" - and bunkered a nine-iron tee shot at the seventh.
Another former Irish champion, Martina Gillen from Beaverstown, returned a 73 for 147, one ahead of last year's English title-winner, Felicity Johnson (Harborne). Felicity had a 73 today for 148.
Clare-Marie Carlton (Stirling University) had a disappointing championship - a pair of  92s for 184.
Louise Kenney from Pitreavie added a 77 to her opening 76 to be assure of qualifying with a total of 153.