Friday, April 16, 2004



Curtis Cup skipper Ada O'Sullivan put her judgment on the line at Formby Golf Club on Friday when she predicted that "Things will be different this time" in the annual one-day Weetabix Challenge golf match between the Ladies Golf Union Elite Squad - the short leet for the Curtis Cup match against the United States at the same venue on June 12 and 13 - and the Ladies' European Tour team.
Last year at Royal Birkdale, the pros thumped the amateurs 16 1/2-4 1/2, a record margin in the series. In 2002 and 2001 it was 12-6 and 13-5 in favour of the pros who have not lost this match since 1998.
"Yes, we lost heavily last year but a lot of the matches were decided as late as the 16th, 17th and 18th holes," said Ada. "We've had some matches against men lately and these will have toughened up our girls so that they can finish better and win in tight situations.
"This is a rehearsal for the Curtis Cup. There is no doubt about that. We are using the same tees, the same course (6,369yd) as we will have for the match against the Americans. There will be the same kind of pressure on the LGU Elite Squad to win.
"I don't agree with those who say the amateurs are on a hiding to nothing. In my view only good can come out of playing against professionals in preparation for the Curtis Cup."
Scots Anne Laing (Vale of Leven), Lynn Kenny (Stirling University) and Clare Queen (Drumpellier) follow their skipper's lead in being confident that it will be no walk-over for the professionals this time - and they are horrified at the suggestion that the pros should concede at least a couple of bisques (shots to be taken at holes decided by the player who receives them) to their amateur opponents to make it a fairer contest.
"We are all raring to go," said Anne Laing. "We won't need to receive strokes. We can beat them."
"It's a long course, set up for the Curtis Cup, and there's not much run at this time of the year but it's the same for all us. I'm up for it. Bring them on," said Lynn Kenny.
"I'm playing quite well and really looking forward to playing the pros. Another two weeks, then exams and that will be be finished at Strathclyde University. So I'm going to do nothing but play golf for the rest of the year. Isn't that great?" said Claire Queen.
The professionals' team at Formby includes former Solheim Cup skipper Dale Reid from Ladybank and Julie Forbes from Aboyne.
The team of eight amateurs to represent Great Britain & Ireland in the Curtis Cup match on June 12-13 will be chosen by the LGU international selection committee after a meeting in the Formby clubhouse on Sunday morning.
Saturday's matches:
FOURSOMES (GB&I amateurs first)
8.0 S McKevitt (Eng) & E Duggleby (Eng) v A Munt (Aus) & S Heath (Eng).
8.10 T Mangan (Ire) & F More (Eng) v N Moult (Eng) & L Fairclough (Eng).
8.20 C Coughlan (Ire) & C Queen (Sco) v C Ekelundh (Swe) & C Dibnah (Aus).
8.30 S Jones (Wal) & A Highgate (Wal) v W Dicks (Eng) & M Eberl (Ger).
8.40 A Laing (Sco) & K Phillips (Wal) v D Reid (Sco) & C Hall (Eng).
8.50 L Kenny (Sco) & K Smith (Eng) v J Forbes (Sco) & K Knowles (Eng).
9.0 D Masters (Eng) & NTimmins (Eng) v R Bailey (Eng) & S Parry(US).
9.10 S Walker (Eng) & M Gillen (Ire) v J Mills (Aus) & J Morley (Eng).
12.30 Mangan v Fairclough.
12.48 Duggleby v Munt.
12.56 More v Heath.
1.04 McKevitt v Moult.
1.12 Coughlan v Ekelundh.
1.20 Highgate v Eberl.
1.28 Queen v Dicks.
1.36 Jones v Dibnah.
1.44 Laing v Hall.
1.52 Phillips v Reid.
2.0 Gillen v Forbes.
2.08 Timmins v Bailey.
2.16 Smith v Knowles.
2.24 Walker v Parry.
2.32 Kenny v Morley.
2.40 Masters v Mills.