Danielle McVeigh’s place on the Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team has been one of Ulster golf’s biggest open secrets for months.
But if there were any doubts about her place on the plane to Boston, the 22-year-old dispelled them with her stunning Helen Holm Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship victory at Troon on Sunday.
McVeigh’s name, along with that of Co Cavan’s 15-year-old Maguire twins Lisa and Leona, was on the eight-strong British and Irish team to play the USA at Essex County Club, Massachusetts in June, announced yesterday by the Ladies Golf Union. Royal Portrush’s Victoria Bradshaw is named as one of four reserves.
“Winning a place on the team has been one of my main ambitions of the past two years,” said McVeigh.
“But now that’s forgotten; it’s all about winning the match. And I think we have a very good chance with a very strong team. It’s all about getting the ball in the hole in one fewer than they do.”
McVeigh’s success at Troon completed a Scottish double after she won the British women's open amateur stroke-play championship last autumn.
And she puts her excellent recent form down to the work she does with coach of seven years David Kearney — and to a robust fitness programme.
“I’d always struggled a lot with injuries and I didn’t want to be the sort of player who fell by the wayside and didn’t achieve what they could have,” she explained.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work at the sports centre in Jordanstown and it has been paying off because I haven’t had any sort of in
jury in months.”
The Curtis Cup is the women’s equivalent of the Walker Cup and McVeigh intends to go one better than Rory McIlroy who ended up on the losing side three years ago when the competition was played on her home course Royal County Down.
But she doesn’t intend to emulate McIlroy and turn pro immediately after the high profile event.
“I took a lot of advice from players out on tour and they all said I should get something which I can fall back on,” she said.
“I’m in my last year at Maynooth University, where I’m studying business and management.
“When I turn pro the aim is to play both in Europe and in America so I can play all year round.”
McVeigh had to fight off the effects of food poisoning before the first round of the 54-hole event in Troon. She started the final day three shots off the pace, but recorded a one under round of 74 to win by two, helped by a superb eagle three at the 425-yard 15th.
“I didn’t think I could win at the start of the day,” she said.
“It was a tougher course than the one we had played the first two rounds on and it was windier.
“But I held it together and sometimes it’s about holding onto a score and I knew when I got to ten under that it might be a score that could win it.”
McVeigh allowed herself a quiet celebration last night at her double success — she didn’t get back home to Kilkeel until after midnight on Sunday.
“It’s been a fantastic couple of days but it’s about to get even busier,” she said.
GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND CURTIS CUP TEAM: Hannah Barwood (Knowle, England), Holly Clyburn (Woodhall Spa, England), Rachel Jennings (Izaak Walton GC England), Leona Maguire (Slieve Russell, Ireland), Lisa Maguire (Slieve Russel, Ireland), Pamela Pretswell (Bothwell Castle, Scotland), Danielle McVeigh (Royal County Down Ladies, Ireland) Sally Watson (Elie & Earlsferry Ladies, Scotland). Reserves: 1 Kelsey MacDonald (Nairn Dunbar, Scotland); 2 Stephanie Meadow (Royal Portrush, Ireland); 3 Charlie Douglas (Brocket Hall, England); 4 Amy Boulden (Maesdu Wales).