Portrush narrowly beaten in International Challenge

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Sara Forbes, Captain of The Country Club (Brookline) with Portrush team captain Nicky Smyth (left), Roma English, captain of Portrush Ladies Branch and Sir Richard McLaughlin, President of Royal Portrush

Royal Portrush women came agonisingly close to winning a major international match involving teams from both sides of the Atlantic. They tied with The Country Club (Brookline) on 225 points but were edged out on count back.

It was the first time the two-day Women’s International Team Challenge was staged on the North Coast. The match had been due to take place in 2020 but was twice postponed because of the pandemic.

Lahinch, who won it in 2011, Merrion (Pennsylvania), St George’s Golf and Country Club (Toronto), Southern Hills (Tulsa), The Olympic Club (San Francisco), Royal Liverpool, and Nairn were the other teams who took part.

Portrush won the gross and captain’s choice sections which were played as a four-ball better-ball on the Dunluce and Valley courses.

This was the 11th time the match was played. It was first staged at The Olympic Club in 2010.

Royal Portrush team captain Nicky Smyth said the club had hosted a magnificent event which was nail-bitingly close.

“Although we didn’t manage to win the trophy, I consider Royal Portrush, the Antrim Coast and Northern Ireland as a whole are definitely winners,” said Smyth.

“The mission of this match is to bring women golfers together to share their passion for golf, and it was such a pleasure to have them here.”

Next year’s match will take place at St George’s Golf and Country Club.

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