When Southport’s Clare Foley and her dad, Larry, headed to Ireland to spend some time together - and to play some golf -they never imagined they’d be checking some extra baggage for the flight home.
But that’s exactly what happened as the duo went out and won the 10th annual World Invitational Father-Daughter golf tournament held at the Waterville Golf Links in Kerry last month.
“Winning was definitely the furthest thing from my mind,” said Clare, who was part of Green Farms Academy’s first-ever girls golf team in the spring. “It was amazing, just a great experience. Both the golf and getting to spend time with my father and playing with people from all over the world.”
The Foleys - who play out of the Country Club of Fairfield - won the 36-hole net prize with a total of the 97 points in the Stableford Better Ball format.
“To tell you the truth, it was just such a joy to have the time with her,” Larry Foley said. “My biggest thrill was after every tee shot, she would run down off the tee and walk up the fairway with me arm-in-arm. She was just so happy to be out there.”
Larry Foley had previously played in two Father-Son tournaments with his boys, L.J. and rising GFA junior Liam but this summer was Clare’s turn to share the course with her dad.
The field was competitive as 12 of the daughters in the 36-team field had single handicaps. The Foleys also got a first-hand look at Ireland’s ever-changing weather patterns. Clare pointed out, “The weather one second can be beautiful and the next second it’s windy.”
The wasn't the only challenge to overcome, though.
“The first day my clubs were left in New York,” Clare said. “I had to play with some rental clubs and I was not playing well.”
Fortunately for the Foleys, that was just a practice round.
Over the course of the first round, it became evident that Foley could hold her own with the other players in the field.
“Once she realized she belonged out there, playing the other girls who had played a lot more, she really cherished the competition and stepped up her game,” Larry said. “That really propelled us.”
The Foleys found themselves in fourth place after the first day. On day two of the tournament, the Foley’s found out what a good team they were - something vital in a best-ball format where the golfer’s lowest score is used as the team’s total for that hole.
“A few holes, if one of us hit a bad shot, the other person would pick it up,” Clare said. “When we needed each other, we were there. We were a good team.”
Larry also noticed that the competition brought out a side of his daughter he has always been proud of
“Her nickname in the family is Feisty. She’s got that personality,” he said. “We went out there and I never had to tell her anything about hitting a shot. She has the ability to stay in the moment and she knew what she had to do. She hits a bad shot and she moves on. That’s what you need in golf - a short memory.”Read Full Article
The twosome garnered 50 points the second day but didn’t know it was good enough to win until the awards banquet that night.
“It was literally probably the most exciting, proud moment of my life to win,” Larry said. “It was great to be there, but then winning was like the ice cream.”
Clare might have a short memory on the course, but off of it she knows it’s a trip she’ll remember for a long time.
“I was really excited about the whole trip,” she said. “Hearing about the other times from my brothers, talking about the friends they made and the people they met, it was always so cool.”