Ainhoa Olarra Claims Runner-Up Honors At British Open Amateur

June 17, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s junior golfer Ainhoa Olarra earned runner-up honors at the 114th Ladies’ British Amateur Championship after falling 3&2 to Ireland’s Leona Maguire in the championship match Saturday afternoon at Pyle & Kenfig Golf Club in South Wales.

Olarra, who tallied five match-play victories en route to a spot in the finals, carded a birdie on the par-4 third to grab an early 1-up lead. Maguire, the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, responded with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 to pull ahead by one, and she headed to the turn with a 3-up advantage following a birdie on No. 9.

A bogey on No. 12 by Olarra dropped her to 4-down in the match, but the San Sebastian, Spain, native remained tough down the stretch. Maguire’s bogey on the par-4 13th trimmed her lead to 3-up, and Olarra cut the deficit to 2-up after notching a birdie on No. 15. Maguire clinched the title after Olarra registered a bogey on the par-4 16th.

Olarra, the No. 39 seed in the match-play bracket, posted an opening-round 2&1 win and a 2-up victory in the second round Thursday to reach the Round of 16. She won the 19th hole against Denmark’s Line Toft Hansen to advance out of the third round Friday before topping Italy’s Alessandra Fanali 4&2 in the quarterfinals later that afternoon.

In Saturday morning’s semifinal round, Olarra defeated Norway’s Stina Resen 4&3 behind four birdies. The Gamecock standout qualified for match play after finishing inside the top-64 (39th, +7) following the conclusion of 36 holes of stroke play on Wednesday.

Olarra, who received the Diana Fishwick Cup for her efforts this week, boasted a career year for the Gamecocks, totaling five top-10 finishes in her third season at Carolina. Two of her top-10 showings came in the postseason, including a 10th-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Championship. Olarra ranked second on the team in stroke average (72.71) and was one of three Carolina golfers to earn All-America honors from Golfweek this spring.