Elm Park’s Anna Foster takes AIG Irish Women’s Close title in Balbunion

Auburn University student secures 2 and 1 win over Kirkistown Castle’s Beth Coulter

Elm Park Golf Club’s Anna Foster holds the  AIG Irish Women’s Close Championship after her win over Kirkistown Castle’s Beth Coulter in Ballybunion. Photograph: Golf Ireland

Elm Park Golf Club’s Anna Foster holds the AIG Irish Women’s Close Championship after her win over Kirkistown Castle’s Beth Coulter in Ballybunion. Photograph: Golf Ireland

 

A new name for the old trophy, with Dubliner Anna Foster outdueling Ulster teenager Beth Coulter to claim a 2 and 1 win in the AIG Irish Women’s Close Championship final over the Old Course at Ballybunion and make a giant leap in her career pathway.

Foster – a member of Elm Park Golf Club and another of those young players who are part of the conveyer belt of talent improving their skills on the American collegiate system, in her case having just completed her freshman year at Auburn University in Alabama – never trailed in a final where she wrapped up the title on the 17th, ending the run of Kirkistown Castle’s Coulter.

“I’m delighted to add my name to the trophy. It’s a pleasure to have in there with the likes of the Maguire twins [Leona and Lisa] and Olivia Mehaffey, ” said Foster, the newest name to be engraved on a trophy which was left blank last year after Covid impacted on the golfing calendar.

Foster had booked her place in the final with a comprehensive win over the hugely promising 13-year-old Olivia Costello from Roscommon, while Coulter – finishing her match in style with a long birdie putt from off the 17th green – accounted for Shannon Burke.

In the final, after a tight opening stretch, Foster moved one up on the eighth and extended her lead to two on the 10th before eventually closing out the match on the 17th to finally end Coulter’s impressive run. Coulter, 17, had also claimed the strokeplay qualifying medallist honours.

“It still hasn’t sunk in. I’m so happy,” said Foster. “The whole week was about taking one shot at a time, and I never got ahead of myself from Thursday morning. It was all about staying calm and in the present. I wasn’t worried about how I played on Thursday, as long as I made the cut. After that, I saw I was in the bottom-half of the draw, and it was all about quietly progressing.

“I knew the final with Beth was going to be very tight, so winning the first hole was a big plus. Beth is a brilliant player, so it was about hanging in and then being able to build on the lead.”

Co Down teenager Coulter remarked: “I played really well in the semis and holed everything. I probably used all my putts up in that match. Nothing would go in, in the afternoon . . . coming into the week, my expectations weren’t too high. I put a lot of hard work in, in the past few weeks. I’m delighted it’s starting to show though.”

AIG Irish Women’s Amateur Close Championship
Semi-finals

Beth Coulter (Kirkistown Castle) bt Shannon Burke (Ballinrobe) 3 and 1
Anna Foster (Elm Park) bt Olivia Costello (Roscommon) 6 and 5

Final
Foster bt Coulter 2 and 1

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