(Tytherington, Cheshire, April 7 2003) England’s Nicola Moult has been chosen as captain of the 14 Ladies’ European Tour professionals when they meet the Ladies’ Golf Union Elite squad for the annual Weetabix Challenge on April 12th this year at Royal Birkdale GC near Southport, Merseyside.
Moult leads arguably the strongest ever professional team for this matchplay event with four Solheim Cup players selected including the outgoing European Captain Dale Reid from Ladybank in Scotland, 1994 team member Lora Fairclough from Chorley, 1996 team member Joanne Morley from Sale and Elizabeth Esterl from Germany, who was Reid’s travelling reserve for Interlachen last September.
The professional side is further strengthened with the inclusion of Joanne Mills from Australia and Natascha Fink from Austria, both LPGA Tour regulars alongside Morley, along with 2001 Biarritz ladies Classic winner Rachel Bailey (nee Kirkwood), two-time Tour winner Alison Munt from Australia and England’s Kirsty Taylor, who finished runner up at Royal Birkdale in the 2000 Weetabix Women’s British Open.
But the LGU Elite Squad, despite missing former stalwarts such as Rebecca Hudson and Kirsty Fisher to the professional ranks last season, is a blend of youth and experience and will hope to give the European team a run for their money.
The experienced element lies in the hands of the three players Sarah Jones, Fame More and Kerry Smith all of whom played in the 2002 Curtis Cup at Fox Chapel. In addition to these three, Becky Brewerton, 20, has experience beyond her years and has already won the Ladies British Stroke Play title on two occasions – last year at Hunstanton GC and in 1999, as a 16-year old, at Huddersfield. She is also the reigning European Individual Champion.
Other players in the squad with major honours to their names include Sara Garbutt, the 2002 English Stroke Play and Under-23 Champion, Anne Laing the winner of the inaugural Ladies’ British Mid-Amateur Championship and a beaten finalist to Heather Stirling in the Scottish Championship. Also in the squad is Clare Queen, a former British Girls Champion with a runner-up medal for her second place finish to Becky Brewerton in last year’s British Stroke Play Championship.
The Weetabix Challenge started in 1994 and this year’s match at Royal Birkdale will be the 10th time the top players from both amateur and professional golf have met.
The foursomes get the match underway at 8.00 a.m. and the singles start at 1.00 p.m.
Spectators are welcome to watch the match and there is no charge for admission or car parking.