Coulter & McCarthy picked for Vagliano trophies but Mehaffey injured

Olivia Mehaffey (Getty Images)

Ireland will be represented in both the Vagliano Trophy and the Junior Vagliano Trophy after it was confirmed that both Beth Coulter and Julie McCarthy have been selected to represent Great Britain and Ireland against the Continent of Europe at Royal St George’s from 28-29 June.

Swords golfer McCarthy has been a shining light in America with her Auburn Tigers university team while Kirkistown Castle’s Coulter grabbed a top-10 finish over the weekend in the St Rule Trophy with her consistency rewarded with selection.

And it would have been three Irish represented but for news breaking on Monday that Olivia Mehaffey, who was initially named on the team, had to withdraw due to an injury sustained while hiking with her family.

“Unfortunately after a fall while hiking with my family, I have broken a bone in my hand,” said Mehaffey. “Thankfully it’s not too bad so I shouldn’t be out for too long, but I have to withdraw from my next couple of events.

“I’m going to take some time to myself and will be taking a break from social media while focusing on my recovery. I look forward to being back competing soon.”

Elaine Ratcliffe will captain GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy match with the hosts seeking a first win in the biennial encounter since 2005 when they defeated the Continent of Europe 13-11 at Golf de Chantilly.

With Mehaffey’s withdrawal, five players have been initially selected for GB&I including Alice Hewson, Lily May Humphreys, McCarthy, Shannon McWilliam and Isobel Wardle. Mehaffey would have been the team’s highest ranked player with three victories on the US collegiate circuit including the Bruin Wave Invitational, the Pac-12 Championship and NCAA Norman Regional.

Three more players will be added to the team following the completion of The Women’s Amateur Championship later this month.

Elaine Ratcliffe, GB&I captain, said, “We have selected a great group of players who have already this season played some wonderful golf and it will be an exciting contest against the Continent of Europe in Kent.

“We will be keeping a close eye on events during The Women’s Amateur Championship next week to determine the two players who will complete our team and it will provide an added incentive to those players from Great Britain and Ireland who are competing at Royal County Down.”

England’s Humphreys has also recorded significant wins in recent months including the Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship and the Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship. The Stoke-by-Nayland member also finished runner-up in this year’s English Women’s Amateur Championship.

Fellow compatriot Hewson has tasted success in the United States after winning the ICON Invitational, while Irish international McCarthy won the Clemson Invitational in April.

Wardle won The Comboy Leveret in March and also finished runner-up to Humphreys in the Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship.

GB&I are bidding to win the Junior Vagliano Trophy for the first time since the international match for girls was inaugurated in 2011 and Maria Dunne will captain the side for the first time in the match.

The former GB&I international has selected Beth Coulter, Hannah Darling, Carmen Griffiths, Darcey Harry, Patience Rhodes and Ffion Tynan to play against their counterparts from the Continent of Europe.

Maria Dunne, GB&I captain, said, “I am looking forward to working with these young golfers with the aim of winning the Junior Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe for the first time. It will be an exciting encounter and the players are very much looking forward to the challenge of playing at Royal St George’s.”

The initial GB&I team for the Vagliano Trophy match is:

Alice Hewson, 21, Berkhamsted Shannon McWilliam, 19, Aboyne
Lily May Humphreys, 17, Stoke-by-Nayland
Julie McCarthy, 19, Forrest Little Isobel Wardle, 19, Prestbury

The GB&I team for the Junior Vagliano Trophy match is:

Beth Coulter, 15, Kirkistown Castle Darcey Harry, 15, The Vale Resort
Hannah Darling,15, Broomieknowe Patience Rhodes, 15, Burnham & Berrow
Carmen Griffiths, 15, Aboyne Ffion Tynan, 16, Minchinhampton

For more information about the Vagliano Trophy and the Junior Vagliano Trophy, including scoring and reports please visit RandA.org