Hannah Darling, the youngest home player at this week’s Curtis Cup, admits she has achieved the goal she dreamed of as a young girl by representing Great Britain and Ireland at Conwy.
Aged 18, the Scot has already packed a host of achievements into her blossoming career and fulfils another set target when she competes for Elaine Ratcliffe’s side over the Welsh links.
Growing up, Darling set her sights on participating in the Curtis Cup and is fully aware of other Scottish players who have played in the biennial team event.
Catriona Matthew, the 2009 AIG Women’s Open champion, is perhaps the most notable, with the likes of Belle Robertson, Janice Moodie, Pamela Pretswell and Gemma Dryburgh doing likewise.
Georgia Hall, Jessica Korda and Stacy Lewis are among a host of other leading professionals who enjoyed the thrill of playing in the Curtis Cup in their amateur days.
“I’ve looked at the names who have played in the Curtis Cup and you think ‘wow, that’s amazing,’ said Darling. “It’s nice to have made it now too.
“From a little girl, thinking about it, hats off to me as it is a pretty big thing. There have been some great Scots in the team. Catriona Matthew has played it, along with other Scots, and they have all gone on to do some pretty cool things in golf. Hopefully that will be next.”
The Broomieknowe Golf Club member comes into Conwy right in form.
Having already won the St Rule Trophy, finished runner-up at the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Championship, and reached the semi-finals of The Women’s Amateur Championship and Scottish Women’s Amateur Championship, Darling added to her CV with victory in the R&A Girls’ Amateur Championship at Fulford.
Now she has set her sights on helping lead the hosts to a famous victory in Wales and avenging their 17-3 loss to the USA at Quaker Ridge in 2018.
“Conwy is going to be amazing, I’m so excited about it,” she beamed. “I’m obviously bringing some form in, as are others, so hopefully it will go in our favour.
“It’s just an honour to represent GB&I. I think making the team is one thing, and that is obviously the first job done. The team has been named and we’ve got look past that now and think ‘right, our next goal is just to win it’.
“Everyone says you are the youngest in the team, but it really doesn’t feel like that. I don’t feel like golf-wise I’m a young player. I would say I’ve quite a lot of experience on the course. At 18, I have achieved some pretty cool things which reflecting on it is pretty amazing.”
Working with her coach, Ian Muir, Darling has made great strides and now sits inside the top 25 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking®. An exciting college career ahead at the University of South Carolina lies ahead, but for now it’s all about Conwy.
She added, “Before lockdown I really didn’t feel like I was playing very well – two missed cuts in a row. When the pandemic hit, I thought I can either get really down about this or I can use it as an opportunity to get better. I worked really hard with my coach, Ian Muir. It’s funny to go from there to here. It just shows what you can do.”