Great Britain and Ireland’s leading women’s amateur golfers have begun their preparations for the Vagliano Trophy later this year.
- Group of ten players in contention for final selection to GB&I team in May
- GB&I aiming to halt a run of six successive wins in Vagliano Trophy by Continent of Europe
- Vagliano Trophy will be played at Golf Club Bogogno from 29 June-1 July
Great Britain and Ireland’s leading women’s amateur golfers have begun their preparations for the Vagliano Trophy as they seek to end the Continent of Europe’s recent dominance in the biennial encounter at Golf Club Bogogno in Italy this summer.
Elaine Farquharson-Black, who led GB&I to a memorable 11½-8½ win over the USA in the Curtis Cup at Dun Laoghaire last year, will continue as captain. The Aberdeen-based lawyer invited a group of ten players, who are in contention for final team selection in May, to a session at The Belfry before Christmas.
Not since a 13-11 win over the Continent of Europe at Chantilly twelve years ago has a GB&I team lifted the Vagliano Trophy. The challenge laid before Farquharson-Black and her charges is to reverse a run of six consecutive wins by the Continent of Europe.
The team’s chances may be boosted by the decision of Ireland’s Leona Maguire to retain her amateur status and finish a degree at Duke University in the United States rather than pursue qualification for the LPGA Tour.
Maguire enjoyed a highly successful season in 2016, winning the Mark H McCormack Medal as the world’s leading women’s amateur golfer for the second year running, the Smyth Salver for finishing as the leading amateur golfer in the Ricoh Women’s British Open and the Curtis Cup with GB&I, in which she contributed four vital points.
The 22-year-old also featured for Ireland alongside team-mates Olivia Mehaffey and Annabel Wilson as the trio captured a historic bronze medal in the Espirito Santo Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships in Mexico.
Following wins in the Irish Women's Open and Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championships last season Mehaffey is also very much in Farquharson-Black’s thoughts for the Vagliano Trophy, as is compatriot Maria Dunne, who was a member of the winning GB&I Curtis Cup team last year.
Seven golfers from England make up the remainder of the contingent who have played their way into consideration for team selection.
Alison Hewson, who finished runner-up in The Schooner Fall Classic and tied fourth in the English Women’s Amateur in 2016, has previously represented GB&I in both the Curtis Cup and Vagliano Trophy, and was a member of the England side that competed in the Espirito Santo Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships. Her team-mate in Mexico, Gemma Clews, also played for GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy two years ago.
Emma Allen was a member of the England team that won the European Ladies Team Championship in Iceland last year and as a student at University of Missouri, recorded a career best second place finish in the Web.com Intercollegiate Championship. Both India Clyburn and Lizzie Prior have also experienced success stateside after winning the Mercedes Collegiate and the Battle of Boulder Creek II in 2016.
Sophie Lamb, who won the British Women’s Stroke Play Championship last season, and Lianna Bailey also feature in Farquharson-Black’s plans.
The GB&I team of eight players will be selected on 18 May. More information can be found on our website.