TEN players have been named in The R&A”s initial Great Britain and Ireland squad for the 2020 Curtis Cup, which will be played at Wales’ Conwy Golf Club in June.
The GB&I will be attempting to regain the historic trophy after the United States recorded a commanding 17-3 victory at Quaker Ridge in New York last year.
The 41st Curtis Cup match will be played from Friday, June 12 til Sunday June 14 at the North Wales course on the Morfa Peninsula, overlooking the Conwy estuary.
Elaine Ratcliffe, who will captain GB&I in the Curtis Cup for the first time, said: “We have a strong pool of players to choose from throughout GB&I and I’m delighted with the 10 players we have selected for the initial squad.
“Each player’s performance and results will be monitored closely over the coming months and we will be looking for each of them to maintain a high standard as they try to secure their places in the team.
“There are many other talented players who can be added to this squad over the next few months,” said the former Ladies European Tour player, who won the English Ladies Amateur Championship in 1998, and hails from Sandbach, in Cheshire.
“We will be following performances closely before the Curtis Cup team is announced in May,” added Ratcliffe, who is one of the co-owners of Essendon Golf Club, in Hertfordshire.
Royal County Down’s Olivia Mehaffey, the highest-ranked member of the squad at No. 19 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, is aiming to make her third Curtis Cup appearance.
Having made her debut in 2016, where she secured three-and-a-half points for the victorious GB&I team, Mehaffey was also a stand-out player in last year’s tough defeat at the 2018 Curtis Cup.
The Northern Ireland international helped achieve two-and-a-half of the team’s three-point total. Currently attending Arizona State University – the university where Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey played – Mehaffey has recorded three collegiate wins this year.
Also in contention for the 2020 team are three of Mehaffey’s team mates from 2018 – Shannon McWilliam, Annabell Fuller and Lily May Humphreys.
The latter has enjoyed an excellent 2019, winning the Annika Invitational Europe, Irish Women’s Open and Welsh Ladies’ Open Strokeplay championships.
Cornwall’s Emily Toy, the 2019 Women’s Amateur Champion and an R&A Foundation scholar, is the third of four English players named in the initial squad and is hoping to make her Curtis Cup debut in 2020.
The squad features a further five potential debutants including Hannah Darling, the Scottish Girls’ Open champion, Annabel Wilson, the Irish Women’s Close champion, Hazel MacGarvie, and Julie McCarthy.
Cheshire’s Isobel Wardle – recently crowned the English Women’s County Champion of Champions at Woodhall Spa – is the final England player in the provisional squad.
The Prestbury GC member helped England win the Women’s Home Internationals at Downfield, in Scotland, last month, alongside Humphreys and Toy.
The final eight players for the GB&I team will be announced on May 11, 2020, and will include the two golfers who are placed highest in the World Amateur Golf Ranking in the week prior.
A further six players will be selected by The R&A Women’s selection committee. Up to four non-travelling reserves will also be announced.
The links course overlooking the Caenarvonshire coast is one of the best in Wales and has hosted the 2009 European Amateur Team Chamiopnship, as well as the Ryder Cup Wales Senior Open on the European Seniors Tour in 2007.
It was also used for Final Qualifying for the 2006 Open at Royal Liverpool but hosted a European Tour event as far back as 1970 when the Martini championship was held there.
The 1990 Men’s Home Internationals were staged at Conwy which also hosted the 1983 Ladies British Open Amateur Championship.
Played off its tips at 6,901 yards, it has three monster par fours over 450 yards off the men’s championship tees but even off the yellows, at 6,476 it’s long holes into the wind are seriously stern tests.
The GB&I squad (age and club/country in brackets):
Hannah Darling (16, Broomieknowe, Scotland)
Shannon McWilliam (20, Aboyne, Scotland)
Annabell Fuller (17, Roehampton, England)
Olivia Mehaffey (21, Royal County Down Ladies, Ireland)
Lily May Humphreys (17, Stoke by Nayland, England)
Emily Toy (21, Carlyon Bay, England)
Hazel MacGarvie (19, Royal Troon, Scotland)
Isobel Wardle (19, Prestbury, England)
Julie McCarthy (20, Forrest Little, Ireland)
Annabel Wilson (18, Lurgan, Ireland)