Curtis Cup: GB&I team

The 2021 GB&I Curtis Cup team, as seen by the R&A

Home side brimming with strength in depth

CURTIS CUP: Monday, August 9th

FORMAT: Three-day team event; foursomes, fourballs and singles

The GB&I Curtis Cup team unveiled today will be hoping to put the misery of three years ago behind them and maintain a run of home victories at the 41st playing of event at Conwy later this month (August 26-28).

The line-up includes four players from England, two from Scotland and two from Ireland and on paper looks considerably stronger than the one beaten 17-3 at Quaker Ridge (New York) in 2018.

There are seven new faces  – only England’s Annabell Fuller (Roehampton) remains from the last playing  – and the squad looks well equipped to continue the run of home wins – 2012 (Nairn) and Dun Laoghaire (2016).

The GB&I team is:
• Hannah Darling (18, Broomieknowe, Scotland) 
• Louise Duncan (21, West Kilbride, Scotland)
• Annabell Fuller (19, Roehampton, England)
• Charlotte Heath (19, Huddersfield, England)
• Caley McGinty (20, Knowle, England)
• Emily Toy (23, Carlyon Bay, England) 
• Lauren Walsh (20, Castlewarden, Ireland)
• Annabel Wilson (20, Lurgan, Ireland)

There was no surprise to see Darling’s name included. The Broomieknowe teenager has got to 33 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and is relishing the prospect of tackling the Americans on the North Wales coast.

GREAT TALENT: Hannah Darling is the youngest member of the GB&I team

“It’s a great honour and has always been a massive goal of mine to play in and win the Curtis Cup,” said the 18-year-old who played junior Solheim Cup and Junior Vagliano Trophy in 2019.

“As a team we bring a lot of strengths and you just have to look through what they’ve all achieved to see we’ve got a great chance.”

The Scottish ace, who is taking part in the British Girls at Fulford this week, does have to spend a week in the USA as part of beginning her degree at South Carolina, but will fly back in time for practice rounds.

She and other Curtis Cup probables/possibles had already taken part in a couple of training camps at Conwy where foursomes pairings were tested.

Hazel MacGarvie (Royal Troon, Scotland) and Julie McCarthy (Forrest Little, Ireland) have been named as reserves while captain Elaine Ratcliffe (Hertfordshire) will lead her country in the competition for the first time.

The Essendon County Club player said: “It is a great honour to be chosen to represent Great Britain and Ireland and competing in the Curtis Cup is the pinnacle of the amateur game for these players.

“Home matches have been very successful for GB&I in recent times and this year we have selected a highly skilled and talented team which is focussed on winning back the trophy on home soil. I know that they will enjoy the opportunity to compete together and create memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.” 

WINNING FEELING: Annabell Fuller (far left), Charlotte Heath (next left), Caley McGinty (centre, right) and Emily Toy (second right) with the European Team Championship trophy they won as part of the successful England team last month

The home ‘eight’ includes a strong mix of experience and renowned match players. The English quartet were the bedrock of the side that won the Home Internationals last week and also beat hot favourites Sweden in the final of the Euro Team Championships four weeks ago.

The Irish duo have been their stand-out performers for the last two years while Walsh is the highest ranked member of the squad (24).

Duncan won the British Amateur championship in June while her fellow Scottish teammate is a perennial challenger for top honours and is regarded as the one of the best prospects to come from these shores for a very long time.