The Ladies Golf Union Elite Squad – the short leet for the Great Britain & Ireland women’s amateur team for the forthcoming Curtis Cup match – scored a great morale-boosting win over the professionals of the Ladies’ European Tour select in the Weetabix Challenge at Formby Golf Club today (Saturday), only eight weeks ahead of the encounter with the United States.
Only 12 months after being Beaten 16 1/2 – 4 1/2 by the professionals in last year’s match, skipper Ada O’Sullivan’s girls gained their revenge with a 14 1/2 – 9 1/2 victory. Ada had predicted on the eve of the match that “It would be a different story this year”, and she was so right.
The LGU team won the morning foursomes session 4 1/2 – 3 1/2 and then increased their lead over the professionals to 5pt by winning nine and halving two of the 16 singles ties. Double winners for the amateurs were Emma Duggleby (Malton & Norton), Sarah Jones (Pennard), Kerry Smith (Waterlooville), Sophie Walker (Kenwick Park) while Scottish champion Anne Laing from Vale of Leven was the biggest LGU winner in the singles. She chalked up a 5 and 4 win over former Curtis Cup player, Caroline Hall after going up four up at the eighth.
The Weetabix Challenge match was started in 1994 and this is only the second win, following the first in 1998, by the LGU Elite Squad. The LGU Curtis Cup team selectors meet tomorrow (Sunday) to select the eight-player line-up to face the Americans on June 12 and 13.
LGU chief executive Andy Salmon said: ” To win the Weetabix Challenge in this Curtis Cup year here at Formby has definitely given the girls a great lift ahead of the Americans’ visit in only eight weeks.”
Skipper Ada O’Sullivan said: “The selectors have a ferocious task ahead of them. I would find it difficult myself to whittle the squad down to just eight. I can think of at least 10 players who have justifiable claims to be in this year’s Curtis Cup team.”
“I think our preparation for the match against the Americans has been superb, particularly the recent matches against top-level men’s county teams, Lancashire and Cheshire. There’s no question those toughened up the girls’ match-play games. Match-play is so different from stroke play and that’s why we have a definite chance against the Americans.”
“Our girls now have belief in themselves. It has been developing and that is why I was so confident that we could beat the professionals this year. Now that self-belief should be sky high. Not cockiness, not over-confidence just a belief in their own ability.”
Results (LGU Elite Squad amateurs first):
LGU ELITE SQUAD 14 1/2, LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR SELECT 9 1/2
FOURSOMES S McKevitt (Eng) & E Duggleby (Eng) beat A Munt (Aus) & S Heath (Eng) 4 and 3. T Mangan (Ire) & F More (Eng) halved with N Moult (Eng) & L Fairclough (Eng). C Coughlan (Ire) & C Queen (Sco) lost to C Ekelundh (Swe) & C Dibnah (Aus) 3 and 1. S Jones (Wal) & A Highgate (Wal) beat W Dicks (Eng) & M Eberl (Ger) 3 and 2. A Laing (Sco) & K Phillips (Wal) lost to D Reid (Sco) & C Hall (Eng) 1 hole. L Kenny (Sco) & K Smith (Eng) beat J Forbes (Sco) & K Knowles (Eng) 2 and 1. D Masters (Eng) & N Timmins (Eng) lost to R Bailey (Eng) & S Parry (US) 4 and 3. S Walker (Eng) & M Gillen (Ire) beat J Mills (Aus) & J Morley (Eng) 3 and 2. (4 1/2-3 1/2)
SINGLES Mangan halved with Fairclough. Duggleby beat Munt 4 and 2. More beat Heath 3 and 2. McKevitt lost to Moult 4 and 3. Coughlan lost to Ekelundh 5 and 4. Highgate halved with Eberl. Queen lost to Dicks 4 and 3. Jones beat Dibnah 2 and 1. Laing beat Hall 5 and 4. Phillips beat Reid 3 and 1. Gillen lost to Forbes 6 and 4. Timmins beat Bailey 3 and 1. Smith beat Knowles 3 and 1. Walker beat Parry 3 and 2. Kenny lost to Morley 3 and 2. Masters beat Mills 2 holes. (10-6)