It won't be long now before Olivia Mehaffey turns pro. It'll be a continuation of what has been a steady rise through the amateur ranks, all of which began as a 13-year-old when playing for the Irish Girls team. 

Mehaffey has been as high as No 3 in the world and currently stands at No 17 in the rankings. She has played in six of the women's professional majors and made the cut in the ANA Inspiration last September. 

In the spring of 2020, while on a break with friends in Hawaii, the impact of Covid-19 was starting to take hold. And so the LPGA Qualifying School was cancelled. The hope now is to turn pro at some point in 2021, and join Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow on Tour. For now Mehaffey is concentrating on finishing her Masters at Arizona State University.

A lot done and she's still only 23.

"I don't give myself credit for what I have achieved because I'm always chasing to get better," Mehaffey told RTÉ's Saturday Sport, as she assessed her career to date.

The Tandragee native changed her coach last year and now works with Jorge Paradas, who also assists a number of players on the LPGA and PGA Tour.

And while she will be forever indebted to former coach Donal Scott, setting her sights on remaining Stateside brought about the change.


"I'm spending so much time out here in America that I wanted to get somebody I could work with more regularly, so now I'm with Jorge. We have made a lot of changes and I'm very happy with the direction I'm going in. It's been a really good for for me. "

And it would seem that the changes are bearing fruit, with Mehaffey seeing the positives after playing in the ANA Inspiration last autumn.

"I've played in six majors but that was the one where I learned the most," she added.

"When we were growing up there wasn't anybody you could look up to on the LPG Tour. We were always looking at the men, so it's nice to have the two girls there now"

"I was so overwhelmed afterwards, because up to that tournament I wasn't happy with my fairways and greens, that's always been my Achilles heel.

"I've always had a good short game, but otherwise I've scrambled. 

"I really want to focus now on hitting more fairways and greens .Working with somebody more regularly on my swing. I'm now seeing the changes, I'm hitting a lot more greens, playing a lot smarter. I think all the changes will help me when I turn pro."

Mehaffey made the cut at the ANA Inspiration, boosting her confidence levels further ahead of her joining the paid ranks. With Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow already making their mark on Tour, Mehaffey is hoping that the presence of another Irish golfer will inspire others.

"When we were growing up there wasn't anybody you could look up to on the LPG Tour. We were always looking at the men, so it's nice to have the two girls there now. Hopefully, I'll be next, with others coming behind me. The High Performance Programme in Ireland is doing such a fantastic job.

"I'm very close to Leona, and she's very good at giving me advice in terms of management companies and tour life. It's great to learn from other people's experiences." 

Becoming a professional golfer brings with it greater exposure and with it the swings and roundabouts of publicity, good or bad. A lot of that commentary comes via social media and Mehaffey has already experienced some unpleasant chatter on the back of winning the Woodbrook Scratch Cup last summer.

A eight-under par 66, a course record, saw her storm home at the Wicklow. A Twitter troll posted something vile afterwards. Mehaffey responded with the hastag #bekind.

Explaining why she did that, she said: "Honestly, it was what I felt like doing at the time. It was the first negative experience I've had on social media. 

"I want to be in the public eye  for the next 20 years and have a long career on the LPGA Tour. I'm sure I'm going to receive a lot worse. If you can react to it in a good way now, the better equipped you'll be.

"Social media, so great and yet so bad."