THE Irish may have the talented Maguire twins but the battling Briggs sisters played the pivotal role as Scotland stopped their rot in the Women’s Home Internationals in a dramatic conclusion on the opening day at Scotscraig.
Despite winning the morning foursomes 2-1, the hosts looked to be heading for a seventh successive defeat in the event as the Irish quickly gained the ascendancy in the afternoon singles.
However, Karen Marshall’s team eventually dug out a 4½-4½ draw and almost snatched a win at the death as Eilidh Briggs, the younger of the Kilmacolm siblings, saw her 25-foot birdie putt burn the edge of the hole at the last after recovering from being two down with three to play against Leona Maguire.
“It was a great team performance,” admitted Marshall after watching Eilidh’s sister, Megan, deliver her second point of the day in beating Paula Grant, before teenager Lauren Whyte fought back to also secure a singles success. “It didn’t looked good at one stage, but what a fantastic turnaround from a young team playing great golf.”
Deprived of three probable first-choice players – Gemma Dryburgh, Jessica Meek and Rachael Watton – due to college commitments in the US, the hosts looked to have their work cut out this week, yet made a promising start on a dreary morning. Up against Lisa and Leona Maguire, Alyson McKechin, the Scottish champion, and the younger Briggs retained an unbeaten record carved out in county matches for Renfrewshire with a stunning display.
Out in 30, they were seven under for the 14 holes in recording a 5&4 victory, hitting their opponents with a brace of eagles – at the ninth and 11th, where Briggs chipped in from 50 yards.
With the Irish taking the bottom of the three morning matches in equally comfortable fashion, the spotlight turned on Megan Briggs, making her sixth appearance in the event at the age of 24, and Gabrielle Macdonald, one of four newcomers in the home ranks.
Up against Maria Dunne and Emma O’Driscoll, the Scots eventually prevailed 2&1 in a keenly-fought contest in which Briggs holed a 30-footer for a birdie two at the sixth and Macdonald matched the feat from closer range at the 13th.
The older of the Briggs sisters then put Scotland 3-1 up as she beat Grant 3&2 before Whyte turned her match around against Amy Farrell, but the Irish were still in the driving seat until Eilidh birdied the 16th, won the 17th with a par and ultimately secured a draw she certainly deserved…and her team-mates, too.