PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Aine Donegan’s rip-roaring start along famed Pebble Beach came to a crashing halt after she recorded a nine on the famed par-4 eighth.
The Irish amateur, known for her sunny personality, didn’t let it ruin the day. Her swing coach and caddie, Gary Madden, simply told her to start again heading to the ninth tee on a sun-splashed Saturday at the 78th U.S. Women’s Open.
Donegan rebounded admirably, ending the day in a share of 19th at 4 over after a third-round 75. She currently holds a three-shot lead in the low amateur race with Benedetta Moresco and Monet Chun at 7 over.
After posting birdies on three of the first six holes, Donegan ultimately hit two shots into the hazard on No. 8 en route to a quintuple bogey. Madden reminded her that she was still only 2 over on the day despite the nine, and to pretend she’d simply made two bogeys over the first eight holes.
“I hit a good tee shot and I had about 190 to the flag,” said Donegan of her first approach into the eighth. “The wind was really, really left to right there, and that wind often doesn’t suit a right-handed golfer who plays a draw. Not that it makes a huge difference, or it’s an excuse, but I hit two very bad shots in a row, which obviously concluded in me having a nine on the hole.
“I had to keep moving on.”
Amateur Áine Donegan of the Republic of Ireland waves after making par on the second green during the third round of the 78th U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on July 08, 2023 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Donegan, who transferred to LSU from Indiana last season, capped off the round by sinking a 21-foot putt for par on the 18th. She soaked up the roar of the hearty crowd, which included a number of Irish family and friends.
Madden has worked with Donegan since she was 8 years old and said his sporty pupil played camogie (hurling for women) and Gaelic football before settling on golf.
After her clubs showed up late to Pebble Beach and her driver arrived smashed, she was forced to put a new one in play for her first major.
“Honestly, you could give her a hurl and she’d be fine,” said Madden with a smile.
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek