McVeigh back where it all began

Danielle McVeigh (left) with fellow professionals, Tara Delaney and Rebecca Codd and amateur stars Lisa and Leona Maguire. All five will be playing in the Ladies Irish Open this week

THIS week’s Ladies Irish Open at Killeen Castle marks a year since Danielle McVeigh made her long anticipated move into the paid ranks.
With a glittering amateur CV behind her, many expected Danielle to progress smoothly onto the Ladies European Tour, but in reality, it has taken time for the 24-year-old to settle into life as a professional.
“It was a difficult transition in those early months. I was expecting a lot of myself but I have learned to manage my expectations better and as a result, I have become much more comfortable with playing professionally,” said the Kilkeel native.
“There was a lot of hype last year when I turned professional ahead of the Ladies Irish Open and it was no real surprise when I missed the cut. I had a lot of attention on me and probably put too much pressure on myself but I am able to manage that sort of stuff much better now.”
Danielle failed to make it through LET Tour school at the end of the last year and has spent most of this season playing on the second tier, the LET Access Series. The top three players on the Access Series Order of Merit at the end of the season (there are six events remaining) will earn membership of the Ladies European Tour for the 2013 season, while players in fourth to 15th positions will have the opportunity to progress to the final stage of LET Qualifying School, thereby skipping the first qualifying event.
Danielle currently lies 10th in the order of merit after five starts. Her best finish this season has been sixth at the Ladies Norwegian Challenge which earned her the princely sum of 1,056 euros.
“The results have been getting better as I keep going. As long as I can keep progressing, that’s all I can do. I am becoming more comfortable with my own game and playing for money which does change things slightly,” added Danielle who also admitted that financially it has been a difficult 12 months.
“The Irish Sports Council provided a grant which helped big time [the members at Royal County Down ladies are also hosting a fundraising event this Saturday], but it has been very tough. There is no point denying that this year has been a struggle.

“I sold my car to get the funds to go on tour. Thankfully, my brother was kind enough to let me share his car but these are the things you just have to do. You can’t expect people to hand out money and a couple of decent finishes lately has provided some more funds.”

This week’s Irish Open is the third invite Danielle has received into the ‘main tour’ and she sees it as a golden opportunity to perform well on a course she knows well.
“My game is in pretty good shape. I took a break last week and have come in fresh,” she continued.
“I have been doing a lot of work with coach, Neil Manchip, and he has helped a lot.
“The course is soft, but the fairways are in great shape and the greens are great but it is going to be playing very long because of the wet.”
The Ladies Irish Open supported by Fáilte Ireland takes place from the 3-5 August at Killeen Castle, Dunsany, Co. Meath.
Tickets are free for children and senior citizens and standard tickets cost just €10, with season passes for €25. Public parking is available on-site and tickets can be purchased on entry or by visiting http://www.ladiesirishopen.ie.

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