Not since 1988 have Great Britain & Ireland made a successful defence of the Curtis Cup but Elaine Farquharson-Black is hoping her side can re-write the record books this weekend.
The Aberdonian has lost the immensely-talented Leona Maguire, who is making her professional debut in this week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic, from the team that triumphed at Dun Laoghaire in Ireland two years ago.
The Americans also boast eight players ranked inside the world’s top 22 for the three-day match starting today at Quaker Ridge outside New York.
But, speaking about a line-up that includes Aboyne’s Shannon McWilliam, two-time Curtis Cup player Farquharson-Black said: “I am very happy with how the players have prepared for the match.
“We know that it will be a difficult match and we don’t have the backing of the home crowd as we did in Ireland two years ago.
“But we are confident that we have a strong mix of experienced and talented golfers who are ready to perform to the best of their capabilities in one of the world’s most prestigious amateur golf events.”
McWilliam, one of three teenagers in a team that contains six newcomers, is delighted to be flying the Saltire in the biennial match after the winning side last time out was lacking a Caledonian connection in a playing capacity.
“Playing in the Curtis Cup was one of my goals this year and I am delighted to have been selected for the final team,” said McWilliam.
“I have played with most of the team before, particularly Olivia [Mehaffey] and Lily May [Humphreys], and you just adapt to being in a new team environment quickly. I’m excited to be here and I think it will be a great experience.”
Getting that for a second time are Alice Hewson and Olivia Mehaffey, the latter determined to do all she can to help bring the best out of the GB&I newcomers.
“When I played at Dun Laoghaire two years ago I learned a lot from the players who had already experienced playing in the Curtis Cup,” said Mehaffey. “I feel that it is now my role to help the younger players by taking them under my wing.”
The US team includes 15-year-old Lucy Li, who became a household name in 2014 when she became the youngest-ever player to qualify for the US Women’s Open at ten years, ten months and four days old. The Californian is the first 15-year-old on the US Curtis Cup Team since Lexi Thompson in 2010.
A total of six foursomes matches and six fourballs matches will be contested today and tomorrow, with eight singles matches on Sunday.
GB&I: India Clyburn (21) England; Annabell Fuller (15) England; Paula Grant (24), Ireland; Alice Hewson (20) England; Lily May Humphreys (16) England; Sophie Lamb (20) England; Shannon McWilliam (18) Scotland; Olivia Mehaffey (20) Ireland.
US: Mariel Galdiano (19) Hawaii; Kristen Gillman (20) Texas; Jennifer Kupcho (20) Colorado; Andrea Lee (19) California; Lucy Li (15) California; Sophia Schubert (22) Tennessee; Lauren Stephenson (20) South Carolina; Lilia Vu (20) California.