Olivia Costello will be packing a lot more than her putters when she zips down the winding road from Roscommon to Dromoland Castle to play in the upcoming KPMG Women’s Irish Open.
The prestigious Ladies European Tour returns to these beaches after a 10-year absence, and while Costello’s father, Michael, will be tasked with making her golf bag, the 14-year-old is bent on bringing her textbooks for the duration.
Roscommon’s Costello is one of Ireland’s brightest prospects in what appears to be a golden age of women’s golf in the country, and while Leona Maguire will be the main attraction at the Co Clare-hosted event, there is indeed a connection between the best of Ireland nowadays. And hope for the future.
Costello had finished at the last Women’s Open in Scotland, following Maguire about Muirfield’s famous ties when she received word of her invitation to the Dromoland event. The two golfers also share the same coach, Shane O’Grady.
“My dad bought tickets for me and a few of my friends and we went down (to the Women’s Open), and when we were going to Carnoustie to play with the British Under-18 amateurs, my dad got a call about the invitation,” Costello said, speaking to RTÉ Sport.
“Leona was the only one we were going to follow and after we saw some holes we also got to know some really big names, but Leona was the key player I wanted to see.
“I also met her at the ‘British Amateur’ and we talked a little bit about the local international players and she was asking how I was going.”
One of Ireland’s leading golf instructors, O’Grady, based out of Black Bush Golf Club in County Meath, helped Maguire become the world’s best amateur golfer, while also coaching DP World Tour player Gavin Moynihan.
Costello has been with O’Grady since the age of eight and the two families remain friendly, as Olivia is friends with my daughter Shane.
“His daughters are the same age as me, so we’re all very close,” Costello said.
Looking forward to Championship week, Costello said she did not hesitate to accept the invitation and looks forward to participating in it alongside Maguire and learning from the other professionals involved in the Tour event.
“I didn’t hesitate,” Costello said. “Getting the invitation was very exciting.
“I couldn’t believe it at first, from going out to see Leona to being able to play with her and all the other great players.”
Costello has yet to play the championship track in Dromoland and is traveling on weekends to settle in before the busy week.
– Aine Binchy (ainebinchy) August 5, 2022
However, judging from the indoor gardens course at Roscommon Golf Club, Costello thinks it’ll feel at home away from home in County Clare, albeit with more room to negotiate.
The teen currently holds a driver over 230 yards, so despite the longer track, she doesn’t think she’ll have to make too many adjustments to her natural game.
“We’re going down this weekend to play the course and walk the track,” Costello said. “Then we will have two training rounds before the tournament,” she said, adding that she will likely train alongside her international teammate and teenage teammate Katie Potts, who has also been invited by the sponsor.
“I would feel right at home in an indoor garden, and while it would be much taller than Roscommon, and it’s short enough compared to Dromoland, I don’t think I’d make a lot of tweaks.
“We’ll have a game plan, and I’m happy with where my game is. I’ve had a lot of practice and played two All-Irelands games the past few weeks, and I’m happy with what I’m playing and how my game is at the moment.
“Katie is probably the closest girl I know, so I’ll probably play with her a few practice rounds.”
A student at the Convert of Mercy program in Roscommon, Costello will take her mid-term break a little earlier than the rest of her classmates, however, stressing that she keeps her schoolwork so she doesn’t have to think about it. That while concentrating on golf
“I’ll probably bring my textbooks and get as much work done as I can,” Costello said. “I’ve missed a few days, but I always recover.”
“I don’t want to think about my homework when I play golf, so when I finish my homework I can go out and do what needs to be done on the course without worrying about it.”
So with the game plan in place, there would be no pressure on the 14-year-old’s shoulders to attend the prestigious event, however, Costello was adamant that she wouldn’t accept the invitation if she didn’t think she could compete in this prestigious event. level, alongside seasoned pros, including the great Scotsman and former Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew.
Watched Rachael Blackmore’s doc last night, I’m very fortunate to have grown up in Ireland at a time when we have so many brilliant athletes who inspire me to be the best Tweet embed Tweet embed Tweet embed @kelly64kg Tweet embed #Probably #motivated, impulsive #want it pic.twitter.com/cFl9acWPLQ
– Olivia Costello (@Oliviagolf1) December 30, 2021
“First of all it would be a great experience, watching how all the pros prepare and all that stuff, but it was always something I wouldn’t play any tournament unless I wanted to win it.
“Obviously there are some things I have to do, like make the cut, but I wouldn’t play a tournament if I didn’t think I could win it. But it would be a great experience,” she said.
As for the father, Michael, who “goes down to nine or ten” as a member of Roscommon, while introducing his daughter to the game, who will be tasked with taking on the role of the enclosure on the trip to Clare Castle.
“Honestly, I let Olivia play her own game,” said the proud father. “I suppose I’ll have to do some homework to help with yardage and things like that.
“But I let her do her own thing, and if she makes mistakes, she learns.”
Watch the Irish Women’s Open live on RTÉ News on Thursday and Friday, with live coverage on RTÉ One on Saturday and Sunday.