Curtis Cup picks riding on Helen Holm
This weekend’s Helen Holm Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship in Troon, Scotland, won’t get much coverage around the world, but it’s arguably the most important tournament being played this weekend.
Much rides on the outcome of this important, if obscure, Scottish tournament. It ultimately will decide who is featured on the Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup team for the match against the U.S. at Essex County Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., in June.
The top women amateurs from the British Isles play two rounds over Troon’s Portland course, with the final round to be played over Royal Troon on Sunday. They’ll be under the watchful eye of Mary McKenna, GB&I’s Curtis Cup captain, and her team of selectors.
U.S. Curtis Cup team
If the first round is anything to go by, then pencil Louise Kenney’s name into the GB&I lineup. The 27-year-old Scot is already a member of the 16-strong GB&I Curtis Cup squad, from which the majority of the eight-women team will be selected.
Kenney, from Dunfermline, Scotland, fired an 8-under 67 to share the first-round lead with 18-year-old English player Nikki Foster.
You might as well add the McGuire sisters, too.
If the 15-year-old Northern Irish McGuire twins were near-certainties to make the team before the Helen Holm, then they practically penciled their names onto the team after Round 1.
Defending champion Leona Maguire is two shots behind in third place after a 69. Sister Lisa is in 12th place following a 74.
The Helen Holm is one of the biggest tournaments in British women’s amateur golf, attracting a sterling field every year. Unfortunately, the field isn’t as strong as in previous years. The cloud of volcanic ash that has disrupted air travel throughout Europe meant that many Continental Europeans failed to make the trip.
Of the 99 players who entered the tournament, only 68 have managed to turn up. For example, the French players withdrew en masse after struggling to get to Scotland due to the travel disruption.
However, the Icelandic volcano has not stopped British and Irish players from competing. Of the 16 players on the LGU’s Curtis Cup squad, 13 are in action at Troon. Only Sally Watson, Lucy Gould and Stephanie Meadow are not competing. They are in the United States. (Watson is at Stanford and Gould is at East Tennessee State, while Meadow, bound for Alabama next fall, attends the Hank Haney Junior Golf Academy at Hilton Head Island, S.C.)
McKenna will announce her team on April 26. If you want to follow the most important tournament being played on this side of the pond this weekend, I suggest you check out the excellent coverage provided by Colin Farquharson at http://www.kirkwoodgolf.co.uk/.
It should be an exciting weekend in Troon.