Olivia Mehaffey (Belfast, Ireland) finished her collegiate career with Arizona State University only a few days ago, and officially announced Thursday morning that she is turning professional. She will make her professional debut Friday at the Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship.
“My whole life I have been waiting for the moment ever since I was a little girl. It’s kind of surreal it finally here,” said Mehaffey. “I’m kind of scared. I have been waiting for this since I was so young, so I am telling myself to enjoy it and take it all in. I am very grateful for Mission Inn and Michael for giving me the invite this week and to kick things of here.”
Mehaffey found success in golf prior to coming overseas for her collegiate career. In 2016, she won the Irish Women's Open Championship, the Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship and helped lead the Great Britain & Ireland team to a Curtis Cup victory. The four-time All-American Sun Devil then made her first appearance in a professional event at the 2016 AIG Women’s Open. In 2020, Mehaffey made the cut at the 2020 ANA Inspiration and competed in the AIG Women’s Open and U.S. Women’s Open. Only a few months ago she competed in her first Epson Tour event where she finished in a tie for sixth at the inaugural Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic.
“It was great to experience my first Epson event. I have played some majors before but it’s nice to feel like what the tournament set up is like. It was nice to see some familiar faces from the amateur circuits, but I really want to enjoy myself this week and not put a lot of pressure on myself,” said Mehaffey. “A lot of new things; traveling by myself, turning pro, new partnerships, so I really want to enjoy it and you only get to make your pro debut once.”
The Arizona State University Sundevil came to Florida right after competing in the NCAA Championship with her team. They fell to Duke University in match play and took fifth place this year at Grayhawk Golf Club. Despite the loss, Mehaffey said she made incredible memories from her time in college and a family who will continue supporting her throughout her professional career.
“We were all rushing from the course trying to see him (Phil Mickelson, fellow ASU Sundevil) finish. I think it really confirms how everything is worth it. He works so hard and is 50 years old and wins a major it’s incredible. I think it gives everybody that bit of hope to kind of keep going and that anything is possible in sport, there are so many magical moments like that,” said Mehaffey. “There are so many memories but coming in my first year and winning a national championship that is just something that is going to stay with me the rest of my life.”
ZWEIG IN FIELD AFTER WINNING ANNIKA INVITATIONAL
Fourteen-year-old, Avery Zweig (McKinney, Texas), won the American Junior Golf Association’s ANNIKA Invitational. Following her win she not only got to take home the victory and trophy, but also an exemption into this week on the “Road to the LPGA.”
“It was incredible. That is one of the highlights of my career. We had no expectations going into that week. Normally when I say that you know don’t really mean it, but really no expectations,” said Zweig. “I was in a good pairing and things just kind of fell into place. Everyone around me was just so nice. Aside from winning just the environment that was present at that tournament and all the genuinely kind people that were there and my friends, that’s something that you’ll never forget and having Annika there was just incredible.”
Zweig continues to add onto her successful junior career. Since her win at the ANNIKA Invitational, she placed third in the 12-13 Girls age group at the Drive, Chip and Putt this year and reached the semi-finals in the U.S. Women’s Amateur four-ball with Gianna Clemente. The Texas native has competed previously on the Cactus Tour, but this is her first appearance on the Epson Tour.
“The environment here is definitely a lot different than a junior event. Everyone is a lot more focused,” said Zweig. “We’ve got a beautiful course and I am really looking forward to this week. Anytime I get to spend with the pros, or any sort of serious golfer is great because that exposure is invaluable.”
GRANADA BACK ON TOUR AFTER BECOMING A MOM IN APRIL
One of the newest moms to the Epson and LPGA Tours, Julieta Granada (Asuncion, Paraguay) is set to compete in her first tournament since welcoming daughter Gia into the world last month.
“I am super excited to learn how to be a mom on the road. I haven’t traveled with her yet, but I am looking forward to experiencing this and traveling the country with her,” said Granada. “Gia is only 8 weeks now, so I feel a little underprepared going into this week, but I am excited to see everybody and seeing where my games is. It is going to be a learning curve for sure.”
Granada has been a professional golfer since 2006. She won on the LPGA Tour in 2006 at the LPGA Playoffs at the ADT and also finished T44 at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Granada joins a large contingent of #LPGAMoms which includes such LPGA Tour professionals as Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome and Michelle Wie West. This week, Granada is joined by her fellow #Road2LGPAMom Rachel Rohanna in Lake County.
“Working hard is something that has taken me far in life. Also, being disciplined but ultimately loving life. If you are passionate about what you do you will always be successful,” said Granada, when asked what advice she hopes to share with her daughter. “I have been inspired by every mom out there. Since being a mom, I have learned how hard it is to be a mom, from pregnancy to the birth to now being a mom for 8 weeks. I have tons of admiration and respect for all the moms out there especially my mom. I think every woman is amazing who has gone through this because it is life changing.”