Monday, June 29, 2015

Beaten Scots have reasons to be cheerful after 

Vagliano and Junior Vagliano Trophy matches


The three Scots involved in the Vagliano and Junior Vagliano Trophy matches at Malone Golf Club flew home from Belfast with high hopes for the future.
Continent of Europe's amateur women's team won the biennial Vagliano Trophy match for the fifth time in a row, beating their Great Britain and Ireland counterparts 12.5-11.5 at the end of the most evenly-contested match in the series since Team Europe took possession of the trophy in 2007.
A lunchtime pep-talk by GB and I team captain Elaine Farquharson-Black before the final session of singles produced a fighting display by her team and at one stage they looked like pulling off a shock win or at least a draw.

Two matches that went to the 18th green in the final session produced only a point to the GB and I total when they might well have boosted it by 1.5pt.
France's Celine Boutier, the new British open amateur champion, and Olivia Mehaffey, who lives only a short drive away from the Malone course, had a nip and tuck contest that was all square on the 18th.
Boutier won the 18th for a one-hole win which was tough luck on 17-year-old Mehaffey. She deserved to get something out of it.
And Hayley Davis was one up playing the last against Germany-based Olivia Cowan, daughter of a Liverpool-born club pro at a Germany club, Cown won the 18th to salvage a square match.  That's how close GB and I were at least to drawing if not winning the Vagliano Trophy.
Consider that two years ago, the Continentals won the Day 2 action by the runaway margin of 10-2 after they had led by only point (6.5-2.5) at halfway, exactly the position at the end of Day 1 in Belfast.
So that underlines the improvement in the quality of the GB and I performance compared with the landslide defeat at Chantilly in 2013.
"It shows you what fighting spirit can achieve and I am now looking forward with a degree of confidence to the Curtis Cup match against the United States at Dunlaoghaire Golf Club, near Dublin next June," said Elaine, an Aberdeen solicitor who specialists in planning and she carried over her day job to being a golf team captain by noting every GB and I player's hole-by-hole scores over the two days.
Mrs Farquharson-Black will be the first Scot to captain a Curtis Cup team since Belle Robertson some 30 years ago.
Shannon McWilliam (Aboyne) and Hazel MacGarvie (Troon Ladies) were members of the GB and I team who lost the Junior Vagliano Trophy match to the Continentals but the scoreline of 10.5-7.5 was the most points our Under-16 girls have secured since this biennial competition started in 2011.

Both Shannon, pictured right, and Hazel are too young to be serious contenders for placings in the Curtis Cup match in 2016 but they are improving every year and promotion to the GB and I team for the 2017 Vagliano Trophy at Bologna, Italy is certainly an achievable goal.
"It was a great experience for both of us to play for a GB and I team and we have set our sights on making it into the team of the next Vagliano Trophy match in 2017," said 15-year-old Shannon.
Both McWilliam and MacGarvie are in the Scotland squad for the European girls' team championhip in the Czech Republic from July 7 to 11. The sky's the limit for two of the best Scottish female prospects for some time.


Hazel MacGarvie in action for GB and in Junior Vagliano Trophy  match final singles session