Woodhall Spa Golf Club plays host to history this week with play underway at the R&A Home International matches where senior women and men, and girls and boys from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales play in the same teams for the first time in the traditional round-robin, match play format.
The R&A Girls’ and Boys’ Home Internationals and the R&A Women’s and Men’s Senior Home Internationals take place alongside the R&A Women’s Home Internationals.
Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer, at The R&A said, “This is the first time that mixed gender teams have competed at the R&A Home International matches and we believe the week will be a true celebration of golf at Woodhall Spa.
“The matches provide women, senior women and men, girls and boys the unique opportunity to team up and represent their countries. I am sure they will all enjoy the experience and also learn a lot from each other.”
The best senior golfers from the four nations will consist of four men and four women. Nations will play against one another in matches consisting of four foursomes and eight singles. Senior men will play against senior men, and senior women play each other with four foursome matches each day followed by eight singles contests.
The Irish team to play England on the opening day features Irish Senior Close Champion Karl Bornemann, Bandbridge’s Jim Carvill, four time Irish Women’s Close Champion Suzanne Corcoran, Belvoir Park’s Gail Linter, The Island’s Gertie McMullen, Castlemartyr’s John O’Brien, Shandon Park’s Phillip Purdy and Laytown & Bettystown’s Carol Wickham.
The English Senior team features Aileen Greenfield, who recently won the R&A Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Ashridge. The Pycombe Golf Club member defeated Catherine Rawthore in a play-off, and Rawthore joins Greenfield in the English side. Scottish Senior Open winner Stephen Jensen is one of the four men in the English Senior team. The Wisley Golf Club member is making his debut in the Senior Home Internationals. Trevor Foster, the 2019 Senior Amateur Champion is also in the team. He placed third in this year’s Senior Amateur Championship.
The Scottish team features Royal Troon member Paul Moultrie, who finished fourth in the Senior Amateur and second in the Scottish Senior Amateur Championship.
The under-18s round-robin format will feature a combination of six girls and eight boys from each country. Matches will consist of seven foursomes, three girls’ and four boys’ matches, and 14 singles, six girls and eight boys.
Nairn Golf Club member Calum Scott, younger brother of Walker Cup player Sandy, spearheads Scotland’s challenge. Calum reached the quarterfinals of this year’s Amateur Championship over his home course of Nairn.
The Women’s Home Internationals sees a host of home-grown talent bidding for the trophy in matches which feature three foursomes and six singles each day. Ireland will be represented by recent Irish Girls champion Beth Coulter, Douglas’ Sara Byrne, Lahinch’s Aine Donegan, Elm Park’s Anna Foster, Forrest Little’s Julie McCarthy, Lurgan’s Annabel Wilson and Castlewarden’s Lauren Walsh.
Among the field competing for the title of best women’s team in Great Britain and Ireland are Scotland’s Louise Duncan, winner of this year’s Women’s Amateur Championship at Kilmarnock (Barassie) and England’s Emily Toy, the 2019 Women’s Amateur Champion at Royal County Down.
Joining Toy in the England team are Annabell Fuller, Rosie Belsham, Charlotte Heath and Caley McGinty. They recently played in the England team that won the recent European Ladies Team Championships at Royal County Down with a 5-2 victory over Sweden.
As the final event prior to the Great Britain and Ireland team being selected for the Curtis Cup, the Home International matches take on even greater significance as the players aim to make the team.
The R&A Men’s Home International matches were scheduled for April 2021 as a lead in event to The Walker Cup but were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will be played from 15-17 September at Hankley Common.
Scoring for the R&A Home International matches can be found at www.randa.org.