As far as stepping stones go, selection for the Curtis Cup is an important one for players with aspirations of competing at elite team level and most probably onwards into the professional ranks in time.
So, the selection of Lauren Walsh, from Castlewarden in Co Kildare, and Annabel Wilson, from Lisburn in Co Antrim as part of the eight-player Britain and Ireland team to face the United States at Conwy in Wales on August 26th-28th is another sign of just how well they are doing in women's amateur golf.
Both players are actually on scholarships to colleges in the USA, Walsh at Wake Forest in North Carolina and Wilson – the 2019 Irish champion – at UCLA in Los Angeles.
Walsh, the best ranked player on the B&I team at 24th in the latest world amateur rankings, has won twice on the collegiate circuit (the Sunshine State Amateur and the Griffin Amateur, both last year) and has three top-10s this season.
The Britain and Ireland team won the tournament on the last occasion it was played on this side of the Atlantic – at Dún Laoghaire in 2016 – but lost out to the Americans at Quaker Ridge in 2018. The 2020 match was deferred for a year due to the pandemic.
"Home matches have been very successful [for us] in recent times and this year we have selected a highly skilled and talented team which is focused on winning back the trophy," said Elaine Ratcliffe, the British and Irish captain.
The team comprises four English (Annabell Fuller, Charlotte Heath, Caley McGinty and Emily Toy), two Scots (Hannah Darling and Louise Duncan) and the two Irish players, Walsh and Wilson. Julie McCarthy, of Forrest Little in Co Dublin, has been named as a second reserve.
Kearney making the most of his status on European Tour
Niall Kearney – despite his category 22 status, which has limited his outings – is putting together a career-best season on the European Tour.
And the Dubliner’s second top-10 of the season at the Hero Open – to go with his tied-fourth finish in the Canary Islands Championship earlier this year – has jumped him up to 121st in the all-important Race to Dubai order of merit and on target to regain a full European Tour card. Provisionally, the leading 129 players will earn fully exempt status for the 2022 season.
Kearney – who has jumped from 1,264 in the world rankings at the end of 2020 to 413th in the current standings – is in the field again for this week’s Cazoo Open in England and also for next week’s Czech Masters. “Hopefully I can keep the run going and get myself up the Race to Dubai ladder,” said the 33-year-old.
Word of Mouth
"I'm not doing anything at all. I don't want to see my golf clubs until I get to New Jersey for my next event" – Rory McIlroy, after a tied-12th finish in the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational where Mexico's Abraham Ancer emerged victorious after a three man play-off. McIlroy's recent globetrotting – three events in four weeks starting in England, a week home, then the Olympics and immediately into Memphis – has left him looking forward to a week off before reappearing at next week's Northern Trust, the first of the end-of-season playoff events.
By the Numbers: 2-4-2
There are two Irish players – Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow, back from Tokyo – in the field for the Scottish Women's Open at Dumbarrie Links, a tournament co-sanctioned on the LPGA and the LET.
Four Irishmen – Kearney, Jonathan Caldwell, Cormac Sharvin, and Paul Dunne – are playing in the Cazoo Open at the London Golf Club in Kent on the European Tour.
There are two Irish players – Pádraig Harrington and Séamus Power – competing in the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour, the final tournament of the regular season ahead of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
On this day: August 10th, 1975
While Bruce Crampton stole some of the headlines early on in the US PGA Championship at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, ultimately it would be Jack Nicklaus – again – who was lifting the Wanamaker Trophy.
Crampton, an Australian, became the first player in any Major to record a round of 63 in his second round, but it was the Golden Bear who collected a fourth career PGA title and the 16th Major of his career with a final round 71 for 276, two shots clear of Crampton with Tom Weiskopf in third place.
The title was effectively sealed on the Par-3 15th hole of the final round, where Crampton three-putted for a bogey and Nicklaus, in the final group, sank a 20-footer for birdie. Nicklaus earned a payday of $45,000 from the total purse of $225,000 for his win.
Leaving Tokyo with bittersweet memories. This is probably the most disheartened I have ever been after finishing 4th in a golf tournament. I tried my best till the very end but golf is like that sometimes. You don’t always get what you deserved, but you do get what you work for – India’s Aditi Ashok after finishing outside the medals in fourth place at the women’s individual tournament at the Olympic Games.
7th place finish at the Olympics! Proud to represent @TeamIreland – Stephanie Meadow after a strong showing in Tokyo moves on for back-to-back events in Europe, the Scottish Open and the British Open.
Congrats to @NellyKorda for winning gold in women's golf! What a phenomenal year she has had. She is a fantastic competitor and it seems that she will have a tremendous career and impact on the sport of golf. it is wonderful to see her continued success – Gary Player tips his cap to the younger Korda sister on her Olympics success.
In the Bag
Abraham Ancer – WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational
Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS (8.5 degrees)
3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max (15 degrees)
5-wood: TaylorMade M2 (18 degrees)
Irons: Srixon ZX (4 iron), Miura TC-201 (5-PW)
Wedges: Miura HB-10 (53 degrees), Artisan prototype (56 and 60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot No5 Stroke Lab
Ball: Titleist ProV1
Know the Rules
On playing her tee shot, Player A discovers that her ball has finished up a body of water that, because of the configuration of the ground, is clearly part of the penalty area but is outside the stakes and, thus, technically outside the penalty area. Can the player claim that her ball is at rest in temporary (casual) water?
No. Rule 17.1a/1 accounts for such a situation arising. If stakes defining a body of water as a penalty area are improperly located, a player is not allowed to take advantage of such an error. The player may not claim that the ball at rest in the water is in temporary water since a penalty area includes any body of water on the course, whether or not marked.