Clitheroe’s Sophie Lamb is hoping to help Great Britain and Ireland defend the Curtis Cup against hosts the United States as the biennial women’s international match gets underway at Quaker Ridge, New York on Friday.
The international golfer represented her nation in last year’s Vagliano Trophy match against continental Europe and was a part of England’s winning team in the European Championships.
GB&I will be captained for the second time by Elaine Farquharson-Black, after she led the side to a 11½-8½ win over the United States at Dun Laoghaire in Dublin two years ago, and the team will be bidding to retain the famous trophy for the first time since 1988 when GB&I won the match 11-7 at Royal St George’s.
Farquharson-Black said, “I am very happy with how the players have prepared for the match against the United States and we are now looking forward to the challenge of trying to retain the Curtis Cup at Quaker Ridge.
“We know that it will be a difficult match and we don’t have the backing of the home crowd as we did in Ireland two years ago but we are confident that we have a strong mix of experienced and talented golfers who are ready to perform to the best of their capabilities in one of the world’s most prestigious amateur golf events.”
Olivia Mehaffey and Alice Hewson will make their second appearances for GB&I in the Curtis Cup after featuring in the winning side at Dun Laoghaire in 2016 and will look to guide the new members of the team who will be making their debuts in the contest this week.
“When I played at Dun Laoghaire two years ago I learned a lot from the players who had already experienced playing in the Curtis Cup,” said Mehaffey.
“I feel that it is now my role to help the younger players by taking them under my wing. It’s a long week and the Curtis Cup is different to other golf tournaments so it’s good to help prepare the new players for what lies ahead.
“I know all the American girls very well but during weeks like this it’s all about spending time with your team and we want to win. It’s going to be a really closely contested match played in good spirit. Both teams really want to win this.”
“It’s going to be very different to playing in Ireland where the whole crowd wanted you to win but we have to just go out there and enjoy it this week,” added Hewson.
“It would be brilliant to retain the Curtis Cup and we’re more than capable of achieving that. Most of the team has experience of playing together in the Vagliano Trophy and Junior Vagliano Trophy matches as well and I think the fact that we come together as a team more often to play as GB&I gives us an advantage over the United States.
“The standard of golf will be fantastic this week so you just have to go out there and expect the unexpected from yourself and your team-mates. We have to remember that we play golf because we absolutely love it and keep that in mind when the match gets underway.”
The team includes three teenagers – Annabell Fuller, Lily May Humphreys and Shannon McWilliam – who will make their first appearance in the Curtis Cup alongside India Clyburn, Paula Grant and Lamb.
“Playing in the Curtis Cup was one of my goals this year and I am delighted to have been selected for the final team,” said McWilliam.
“I have played with most of the team before, particularly Olivia and Lily, and you just adapt to being in a new team environment quickly. I’m excited to be here and I think it will be a great experience.”
The Curtis Cup is played over three days with eight singles matches, six foursomes matches and six fourballs matches. The United States leads the overall series 28-8-3.