For the first time since 1994, four Scottish players have been selected by the Ladies’ Golf Union to compete on home soil in the 35th Curtis Cup.
Carly Booth, (15), will become the youngest ever GB & I team member, beating the record set by fellow Scot Jane Connachan who was 16 on her debut in 19080.
Krystle Caithness, (19), a reserve in 2006, Michele Thomson, (20) and Sally Watson, (16) make up the Scottish quartet.
Welsh star, Breanne Loucks, (20), a member of the 2006 GB & I side has again been selected to play in the biennial match over the historic Old Course, St Andrews from 30 May to 1 June 2008.
Completing the team of eight and making their first appearance in the contest are England’s Elizabeth Bennett, (25), Jodi Ewart, (20) and Florentyna Parker, (18).
Mary McKenna, Captain of the GB & I team said; “ I am delighted with the team that has been selected. It was no easy task with the quality of the squad being so high. I feel very confident that we can win the Curtis Cup on this historic occasion.”
This year, a new three-day format of play has been introduced, featuring three foursomes and three four-ball matches on the first two days. All eight players will play singles matches on Sunday to conclude the competition.
The USA team has won the last five Curtis Cup Matches and leads the series by 25 wins to 6 GB & I wins and 3 matches drawn.
The team members are:
Elizabeth Bennett, 25, Brokenhurst Manor, England
The English women's stroke-play amateur champion of 2006 boosted her selection hopes early in 2007 by winning the Hampshire County and ELGA South-East Divisional Championships. In the same year, Bennett represented GB & I in the Vagliano Trophy against the Continent of Europe and reached the quarter-finals of the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship. Winning the prestigious South Atlantic Ladies Amateur and reaching the semi final of the Jones/Doherty Championship on the Orange Blossom Tour, Florida, undoubtedly confirmed her Curtis Cup debut.
Carly Booth, 15, Comrie, Scotland
Booth makes her debut as the youngest ever GB & I player to be selected. Currently based in Phoenix, Arizona, she has racked up a number of Championship wins in 2007 including the European Young Masters and two Scottish titles, the Under 18 (Close) Girls and Under 21 Junior Open Stroke Play. Sixth place in the St Rule Trophy, St Andrews and finishing 13th at the De Vere Ladies’ Scottish Open will have helped to secure her place in the GB & I line up.
Krystle Caithness, 19, St Regulus Golf Club, Scotland
Named second reserve in 2006, the Scottish International player began a four-year scholarship at the University of Georgia, in 2007. A life member of the St Regulus Club, St Andrews, she was a member of the winning GB team at the 2007 Acer Five Nations Tournament. She also represented GB & I in the 2007 Vagliano Trophy and reached the quarter-finals of the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship. In 2006 she had a run of success winning the St Rule Trophy and the Scottish Under 21 Girls Championship, the latter featuring a sparkling ten under par 64.
Jodi Ewart, 20, Catterick, England
The 2007 English Stroke play champion gains her place in the team following notable successes on the US College circuit including six top ten finishes in 2006-07. A student at the University of New Mexico, Ewart won the Mountain West Conference Championship (2007), being named their player of the year. Back in the UK, she was third qualifier in the 2007 Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship and in 2006 won the English Northern Ladies Championship and Daily Telegraph Girls Championship in Dubai.
Breanne Loucks, 20, Wrexham, Wales
Loucks is certainly the most experienced player in the side producing a 100% record in the 2006 Curtis Cup. In addition to representing Wales in the Home Internationals in 2007 she represented GB & I in the Vagliano Trophy and Acer Five Nations Tournament. A win at the 2007 Welsh Ladies (Close) Amateur Championship and a joint fourth finish at the 2008 Portuguese Women’s Open Amateur Championship sealed her place.
Florentyna Parker, 18, Royal Birkdale, England
Also a member of Gut Waldhof Golf Club in Germany, the 2006 Lancashire County Champion highlighted her ability in match play by being selected twice for the Junior Solheim Cup Team (2005 & 2007), scoring maximum points last year in helping Europe beat the US. Named as third reserve for the 2006 Curtis Cup match, she helped her selection chances by winning the 2007 French under 21 Junior Women’s Open Championship and was runner up at the 2007 Ladies’ British Stroke Play Championship. Remaining on form this season, she took the number two spot at the Portuguese Amateur Championship.
Michele Thomson, 19, McDonald Ellon, Scotland
The 2006 Scottish Schools Girls Champion made an early bid in 2007 for a Curtis Cup spot with impressive performances, reaching the quarter-finals of the Ladies Amateur Championship and semi-final of the Scottish Ladies Amateur. In the same year, Thomson was selected for Scotland to participate in the International matches, won the Aberdeenshire County Championship and the Ness Open. This season top three finishes in the South Atlantic Ladies Amateur, Florida and Portuguese Women’s Amateur cemented her place.
Sally Watson, 16, Elie & Earlsferry, Scotland
Sally, the second youngest in the team, attends the David Leadbetter Academy in the US and earlier in the year won the Leadbetter Girls Championship in Florida. Her performance throughout the 2007 Ricoh Women’s British Open over the Old Course, St Andrews will have impressed the selectors. Sally was a member of the victorious 2007 Junior Solheim Cup Team and Scottish team that retained the Girls International Matches. She finished 19th in the De Vere Ladies’ Scottish Open, a Ladies’ European Tour Event.
Captain: Mary McKenna, Donabate, Ireland
One of Ireland’s leading female amateurs, Mary has won eight Irish Championships between 1969 and 1989 and was the runner up four times. She participated in nine successive Curtis Cup matches and ten Vagliano Trophies. She has been capped for her native Ireland on innumerable occasions and played in the Home Internationals between 1968 and 1991. In 2000, she was Captain of the GB & I team competing in the World Amateur Team Championships at the Sporting Club Berlin. Twenty-six years earlier, Mary, in one of her four playing appearances in the Espirito Santo Trophy, helped GB & I to second place in the Dominican Republic. In 2007 she played for Ireland in the Senior Internationals matches.
Liz Bennett 25 Brokenhurst Manor
Carly Booth 15 Comrie
Krystle Caithness 19 St Regulus
Jodi Ewart 20 Catterick
Breanne Loucks 20 Wrexham
Florentyna Parker 18 Royal Birkdale
Michele Thomson 20 McDonald Ellon
Sally Watson 16 Elie & Earlsferry Ladies
1. Kerry Smith 36 Waterlooville
2. Sahra Hassan 19 Vale of Glamorgan
3. Rachel Jennings 19 Izaak Walton
4. Danielle McVeigh 20 Royal County Down Ladies
Captain: Mary McKenna
Manager: Tegwen Matthews
Par and Yardage: The Old Course, St Andrews will be set up at 6638 yards (6067 metres) with a par of 36-36-72.
Schedule of Play:
Thursday 29 May: Official Opening Ceremony
Friday 30 May: 3 Foursomes: 8.00-8.24am, 3 Fourballs: 12:15-12.45
Saturday 31 May: 3 Foursomes: 8.00-8.24am, 3 Fourballs: 12:15-12.45
Sunday 1 June: 8 Singles 10.00 -11.10am
History: The Curtis Cup was donated by the sisters Harriet and Margaret Curtis in 1927 and is inscribed: “to stimulate friendly rivalry among the women golfers of many lands.” However, largely due to financial reasons, the first official match was not played until 1932 at Wentworth where the US beat GB&I 5½ - 3½.
Tickets: Available to purchase online or by phoning 01334 475 811, discounted rates until 1 May 2008.