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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Eight Scots on short leet of 26 to play Continent of Europe


The talented Maguire twins from Ballyconnell in Ireland's County Cavan have been named in a Great Britain & Ireland preliminary squad for the 2009 Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe at Hamburger Golf Club, Falkenstein,Germany on July 24 and 25 next year.
It is an indication how far Lisa and Leona, 14 years of age on November 30, have progressed in the comparatively short time since they were introduced to golf.
Leona is the current Irish women's amateur champion, having beaten Lisa in the final. Lisa is the Irish girls’ champion, and won this year's European Junior Masters' girls' championship, beating Leona into second place. Their Masters’ performances earned them both automatic selection for Europe in the Junior Ryder Cup match against the United States.
Two other members of this year's European squad for the Junior Ryder Cup are included in the squad of 26 - Scottish Under-18 girls champion Carly Booth (Comrie) and England’s Kelly Tidy (Royal Birkdale), beaten in the final of the British girls' championship at Monifieth.
All eight members of this year's GB&I Curtis Cup team who played in the match against the United States over the Old Course, St Andrews have been named, while four of the squad, including Roseanne Niven (California) are currently students at American colleges.
Niven, a Crieff Golf Club member, won the 2008 British Stroke Play Championship at Malone Golf Club, near Belfast, beating fellow squad member Kylie Walker (Buchanan Castle) in a play-off for the title.
The victory by Glasgow University student Pamela Pretswell (Buchanan Castle) in the Swiss women's open amateur championship, in which she finished ahead of many of the Continent's leading players, played no small part in the Scot's inclusion in the squad, which also includes English Amateur Champion Hannah Barwood (Knowle), Scottish Champion and Curtis Cup player Michele Thomson (McDonald Ellon) and Welsh Stroke Play title holder Rhian Wynn Thomas (Vale of Glamorgan).
The naming of a large squad of 26 specifically for the Vagliano Trophy match represents a change from the Ladies’ Golf Union’s previous policy of selecting an Elite Squad for winter training and coaching sessions.
Ladies’ Golf Union Chairman, Trish Wilson, explains
“Each of the national organisations provides technical training and performance support to its international class players and prospects, and there has been a growing recognition that the additional layer of coaching formerly provided by the LGU is not required.
Consequently, our focus will be more on performance monitoring and team preparation. On the performance side, we will monitor the results, attitude and commitment of players by working closely with the performance managers and national coaches within the four home countries. The national selectors will rely heavily on this information when reaching decisions on the final team selection.
On team preparation it is intended to have a practice match once the Vagliano Team has been selected after the 2009 Ladies British Open Amateur Championship at Royal St David’s Golf Club in June. We will call on specialist help as necessary to make sure the team is well positioned to win back the Vagliano Trophy next summer.”
In practice, players will determine their own playing schedules with the help of their performance managers and national coaches, although the LGU will provide details of certain tournaments which squad players will be expected to play in. Players are also encouraged to consider playing in overseas tournaments, which fall between the end of 2008 domestic season and the start of the 2009 tournament calendar, and which are being highlighted as warm-weather venues where competition and practice can be combined in a way unlikely to be possible during the winter months in Great Britain & Ireland.
The LGU stresses that, although 26 squad players have been named, there is nothing to stop other players from competing in the designated tournaments with a view to forcing their way into the Vagliano Trophy team of nine players and two reserves.
Ireland's Mary McKenna will again captain the GB&I team in 2009, and is aiming to overturn the Continentals’ record-margin win in the last Vagliano Trophy match at the Fairmont St Andrews in 2007.
On hearing the named squad, Mary reacted
“I am really delighted with this squad. It is great to see so many new names on the list, a great mix of youth and experience. This will make for a lot of exciting golf early next year in the lead up to selection at the British Ladies Amateur Championship.”
The breakdown of the nationalities of the 2009 squad is:
English 9, Scottish 8, Irish 5, Welsh 4.
1 Hannah Barwood (ENG) (Knowle).
2 Liz Bennett (ENG) (Brokenhurst Manor).
3 Carly Booth (SCO) (Comrie).
4 Amy Boulden (WAL) (Maesdu).
5 Hannah Burke (ENG) (Mid Herts)
6 Krystle Caithness (SCO) (St Regulus)
7 Tara Delaney (IRE) (Carlow)
8 Naomi Edwards (ENG) (Ganton)
9 Jodi Ewart (ENG) (Catterick)
10 Sahra Hassan (WAL) (Vale of Glamorgan)
11 Rachel Jennings (ENG) (Izaak Walton)
12 Niamh Kitching (IRE) (Claremorris)
13 Breanne Loucks (WAL) (Wrexham)
14 Kelsey MacDonald (SCO) (Nairn Dunbar)
15 Leona Maguire (IRE) (Slieve Russell)
16 Lisa Maguire (IRE) (Slieve Russell)
17 Danielle McVeigh (IRE) (Royal County Down Ladies)
18 Roseanne Niven (SCO) (Crieff)
19 Florentyna Parker (ENG) (Royal Birkdale)
20 Pamela Pretswell (SCO) (Bothwell Castle)
21 Kerry Smith (ENG) (Waterlooville)
22 Rhian Wyn Thomas (WAL) (Vale of Glamorgan)
23 Michele Thomson (SCO) (McDonald Ellon)
24 Kelly Tidy (ENG) (Royal Birkdale)
25 Kylie Walker (SCO) (Buchanan Castle)
26 Sally Watson (SCO) (Elie & Earlsferry Ladies)