If the greatest test of sporting character arrives on the grandest stage, it says much about Olivia Mehaffey’s mindset that the Scarva golfer embraced a leading role in last weekend’s Curtis Cup triumph.
Mehaffey was one of three players on home soil within the Great Britain and Ireland panel for the most high-profile event in the world of ladies’ amateur golf.
Victory over USA around County Wicklow’s Dun Laoghaire course kept the coveted prize this side of the Atlantic for the eighth occasion in 39 outings.
The Ryder Cup-style format may dictate the importance of team spirit but Mehaffey played a central role in victory by 11.5 to 8.5 with some assured individual moments.
She led her colleagues out on opening day and stepped up to hold the spotlight across the decisive final test of singles against a rival - Hannah O’Sullivan - ranked number one of the world. The 18-year-old posted a record of three wins, one defeat and a closing half-point return across the foursomes, fourball and singles formats.
“Words cannot describe that feeling when we won and I have never been involved in anything that can compare,” said Mehaffey, a member of the Tandragee club. “I knew going in the Curtis Cup was big but it is only when in the middle of playing you can really understand the scale of everything.
“I have never been so motivated on a golf course and put 100 per cent of my heart into the competition.
“It was so emotional for every member of the team and I feel we have formed friendships for life, given the bond leading up to and during the Curtis Cup.
“It was unforgettable, with the crowd amazing and just massive, much bigger than I could ever have imagined.
“To finish the job in front of such an amazing atmosphere made everything so special.
“I was first out on both Friday and Sunday but do not mind leading to be honest.
“To have that honour, especially on the final day, was great and another special part of the whole experience.
“It meant the world to us and is certainly something I will never forget.”