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Down's Mehaffey pays emotional tribute to late father after honouring his 'final wish'

Olivia Mehaffey: ‘Finding the strength and bravery to come to Spain and compete as my dad’s final wish is something I am proud of.’

Down golfer Olivia Mehaffey in action earlier this year.
Down golfer Olivia Mehaffey in action earlier this year.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

DOWN GOLFER OLIVIA Mehaffey has opened up about how the recent death of her father left her “broken inside,” and how she honoured his “final wish” by competing at the Ladies European Tour [LET] Qualifying School.

Mehaffey’s father, Philip, passed away on 3 December after a long battle with cancer.

Always a golfing influence and her biggest supporter, Philip urged his 23-year-old daughter to travel to La Manga in Spain this month to compete for playing rights on the LET next season.

That, she did; her bid for one of the top qualifying spots falling agonisingly short after a gruelling two-week slog. Finishing in a tie for 24th – by a single shot — earned her conditional status, though that she played at all is a commendable feat.

In an emotional tribute on Twitter and Instagram today, Mehaffey wrote: “It’s hard for me to find the words to write this and sum up the last couple of months. It has been by far the toughest I have experienced.

“I learnt many things from my dad since I was a young girl. But over the last year I have learnt more from him than I could ever imagine. Watching his strength, determination, amazing attitude, positivity and gratefulness while his health deteriorated was truly admirable. This is the manner in which I promise to strive to live the rest of my life. I love you always dad and miss you everyday already! (3-13-21)

“Finding the strength and bravery to come to Spain and compete as my dad’s final wish is something I am proud of. Putting a brave face on, being away from home and feeling broken inside while competing for 9 rounds was pretty tough for me.

“Thank you to my family, friends and sponsors who have been so supportive and caring over the last few weeks.”

One of the brightest young talents in women’s golf, Mehaffey has enjoyed a promising few months, having turned professional earlier this year.

The Belfast star is one of several women from these shores leading the way, with Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow among the others.

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Maguire was named Irish Golf Writers’ Player of the Year yesterday after a momentous 2021, becoming just the second woman in the awards’ 45 years history to achieve the honour. Meadow did so in 2018.

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Emma Duffy

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