Lurgan Golf Club’s Niamh McSherry is hoping to launch a professional career when she heads off to America on a scholarship next year.
The St Ronan’s pupil will join Kansas State University on a four-year scholarship - making it two Lurgan girls playing on the far side of the pond.
Niamh Ward is now in her second year at the University of Minnesota and her clubmate can’t wait to follow in her footsteps.
“I’m a bit nervous but I’m really excited about it and the chance to develop my game,” said +2 handicapper McSherry.
“I’m really hoping to become a professional out of it but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll still try and have a good amateur career around the world.”
Belfast girl Chloe Weir will be a familiar face at Kansas but it’s not renewing friendships that Niamh will be looking forward to most.
“The weather is brilliant,” she said straight off, “or better than here anyway. The facilities are really good and the people are all so nice. The academic courses they offer are good as well. They’re really big into that side of things as well so if you’re not doing well enough in class, you won’t be able to play for the team.”
It’s little wonder than Niamh found her way onto the radar of American universities. This season, she was the runner-up in the Irish Girls Championship and took fifth in the Irish Women’s Open Amateur Strokeplay. Add to that a leading role in the Irish girls’ first-ever Home Internationals title and it marked an impressive year.
“They first came to watch me in the European Girls Championships last year,” she said. “I got a call last September but it wasn’t until they watched me again last July and they phoned to see if I was interested that I really thought about it. That’s when I decided to go over and on the last day, they asked if I wanted to go over for four years and that was it. It’s an opportunity that you can’t turn down.
“My family have all been so supportive and have been a major influence. My coach Peter (Hanna - Lurgan Golf Club Head Professional) has been great with me as well and I couldn’t have got to where I am now without them all.”
Kansas State Head Coach Kristi Knight, meanwhile, was full of praise for her new recruit.
“It only took watching Niamh play a couple of holes to know that she would be a great addition to our team,” she told the University website. “She loves the game, has great skills and a desire to compete.”