Teenagers Woad and Coulter among new faces in GB&I squad for Merion
R&A: Wednesday, March 2nd
The R&A Curtis Cup selectors have named five new faces in the 12-strong squad unveiled today ahead of the 42nd meeting of GB&I and the USA at Merion in June.
Hot on the heels of last year’s excellent match-up at Conwy in Wales, the visitors will be hoping to build on that momentum. Only a dazzling last-day singles effort from the Americans decided the tie in their favour.
Hoping to be part of the final eight is Surrey teenager Lottie Woad. The England Girls international was a regular winner last year and her consistency in major events has clearly been instrumental in her inclusion.
“It feels amazing to be included in the squad along with a great group of players,” said the 18-year-old Farnham player. “It’s definitely been a goal of mine for a long time.”
The youngest member of the squad is the outstanding Irish Girls champion Beth Coulter. The 17-year-old also reached the final of the British Girls last year, eventually losing to World No 9 Hannah Darling (Broomieknowe). The Scottish star, enjoying her first year in college in America, once again looks set to be the lynchpin of the GB&I team.
She is one of five retained from last year’s team. Also included are the stand-out English trio of Annabell Fuller (Roehampton), Charlotte Heath (Huddersfield) and Caley McGinty (Knowle). Leading Irish golfer Lauren Walsh is also back in, as is British Amateur champion Louise Duncan (West Kilbride).
GB&I captain Elaine Ratcliffe said: “We have selected a group of very talented players for our Curtis Cup squad and we will be monitoring their form and results over the coming months as we look to select the strongest possible side to play at Merion.
“Despite the result, there were really encouraging signs in the team’s performance at Conwy and with a number of the players returning to join this year’s squad, there is a strong foundation to build upon as we prepare for the match in June.”
Norfolk star Amelia Williamson (Hunstanton) is another new face alongside Whitley Bay’s Rosie Belsham and Ireland Amateur champion Anna Foster.
Williamson has just broken into the world’s top 50 on the back of some superb efforts representing Tallahassee College across The Atlantic while her England team-mate Belsham has also been a consistent performer in the States during the winter.
The final team will be announced on Tuesday, April 26th with the top two in the WAGR rankings, as of April 21, gaining automatic qualification.
GB&I have not won on US soil since 1986, one of only two away victories – 1958 was the other occasion.