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GB&I face Continent of Europe for Vagliano Trophy

  • Great Britain and Ireland aiming to halt Continent of Europe dominance in the biennial match.
  • Continent of Europe trying to secure sixth win in a row.
  • Match takes place at Circolo Golf Bogogno near Milan, Italy on Friday, 30 June and Saturday 1 July.

The Great Britain and Ireland Vagliano Trophy team will face a tough test this week as they bid to wrest the trophy back from the Continent of Europe team at Circolo Golf Bogogno near Milan, Italy.

The Continent of Europe team is aiming to secure a sixth win in a row in the biennial match which is played on Friday, 30 June and Saturday, 1 July. GB&I achieved their last victories in the match in 2003 and 2005.

Team GB&I

Captain Elaine Farquharson-Black’s team will be without some of the Curtis Cup players who notched up a memorable 11 ½ - 8 ½ victory over the Americans, at Dun Laoghaire in Ireland last year. The likes of Bronte Law, who won all her foursomes and singles matches in Ireland, Meghan MacLaren and Charlotte Thomas are now in the professional ranks.

On the plus side, Leona Maguire, who won the recent Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship at Pyle & Kenfig in Wales, and the nucleus of the 2016 GB&I team - Olivia Mehaffey, Maria Dunne and Alice Hewson - will be in the team, which has been reduced from nine to eight this year. Their experience will be needed alongside Gemma Clews, who played in the 2015 Vagliano Trophy match, India Clyburn, Sophie Lamb and Annabel Wilson.

WAGRTM number 1 and Ladies' British Open Amateur Champion Leona Maguire features in the GB&I team
WAGRTM number 1 and Ladies' British Open Amateur Champion Leona Maguire features in the GB&I team.

Maguire, ranked number one in the World Amateur Golf RankingTM, added the Ladies’ British Amateur title to the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Stroke Play title she won in 2011 at Royal Ashdown Forest. 

"We are looking forward to an exciting match in Milan,” said Farquharson-Black. “GB&I has not won the match since 2005 but we came very close in Malone two years ago, with a couple of matches just tipping the wrong way for us on the final hole.

"The format has changed this year, with the team reduced to eight players and everyone playing in every game so we need to make sure that we are firing on all cylinders from the start.

"The team has been playing excellent golf in recent weeks, with Leona winning the Ladies’ British Amateur; Olivia helping Arizona State to the NCAA title; Gemma winning the Welsh Stroke Play and Maria winning the Irish Women’s Stroke Play."

Team GB&I get out on the course for their first practice session
Team GB&I get out on the course for their first practice session.

Team Continent of Europe

The Continent of Europe line-up features several players who are regulars on the highly competitive US women's college circuit from September through to the end of May every year.

They will be bidding to extend a winning sequence of victories in the biennial match, which began in 2007 at Fairmont, St Andrews. Their comprehensive winning margin of 15-9 was an indication of things to come over the next eight years: 13-11 in Hamburg, 15 ½ - 8 ½ at Royal Porthcawl, 16 ½ - 7 ½ at Chantilly and 12 ½ - 11 ½ at Malone, Belfast.

The Continent of Europe team looks as strong as ever under the captaincy of Italy's Anna Rosco: Virginia Elena Carta (Italy), Matilda Castren (Finland), Julia Engstrom (Sweden) Morgane Metraux (Switzerland), Linnea Strom (Sweden), Puk Lyng Thomsen (Denmark), Albane Valenzuela (Switzerland), Dewi Weber.

Engstrom was the youngest ever winner of the Ladies’ British Amateur Championship, at the age of 15, at Dundonald Links last year. Strom was beaten finalist in the same event at Portstewart in 201.

The GB&I Junior Vagliano Trophy team, captained again by Ireland's Claire Coughlan-Ryan, will be looking to bounce back from a narrow defeat in their match at Malone in 2015.