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Ulster girls can star in Trophy side at Malone

By Robert Jones

Published 26/06/2015

In the swing: Great Britain and Ireland’s Vagliano Trophy team pose for a photograph before heading out on a practice round at Malone Golf Club yesterday PRESSEYE
In the swing: Great Britain and Ireland’s Vagliano Trophy team pose for a photograph before heading out on a practice round at Malone Golf Club yesterday PRESSEYE

Forget Chambers Bay and St Andrews, all roads lead to Malone Golf Club today for the start of one of the highlights in the amateur ladies calendar.

The Belfast club is playing host to the prestigious Vagliano Trophy where 18 of Europe's best amateur players will battle it out over two days of action.

It pits Great Britian and Ireland against Continental Europe in an event that stretches back to 1959 and local fans will have two of their own favourites to cheer on.

Olivia Mehaffey, from Royal County Down, is fast becoming one of the most exciting rising stars on the circuit and at just 17 seems destined to join the ranks of the professionals in years to come.

The same could be said of Leona Maguire from Slieve Russell, already top of the European Golf Association rankings and currently playing on the ultra-competitive US Colleges circuit where she is undertaking a scholarship.

The 'home' side is captained by Scottish woman Elaine Farquharson-Black who has been picking the brains of a leader from a whole different ball game in the build up to the event.

At a lunch recently, the Aberdeen woman caught up with Scotland football manager Gordon Strachan.

Having gone on to manager Celtic he knows all about high pressure situations and passed on a few tips to Elaine about getting the best from individuals in a team environment.

"We have a really strong GB&I team, many of whom have played regularly and successfully against the Continent of Europe players in US college tournaments," she said. "So, although the Continent has won the last four Vagliano Trophy matches since 2007, there is no danger of our players being in awe of the opposition.

"GB and Ireland can win and we need the players to believe they can win."

Action continues over the next two days at Malone Golf Clun and admission is free.

The Junior Vagliano Trophy will also be contested with Lurgan's Annabel Wilson in action.

Michael Hoey carded a three-under par 69 in the first round of the BMW International in Munich.

The Belfast golfer hit five birdies in his round which leaves him four shots behind leaders Lasse Jensen, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Daniel Gaunt.

Darren Clarke had an eagle, four birdies and two double bogeys on his way to an eventful 70 while Shane Lowry, who finished ninth in last week's US Open is level par.

World number seven Henrik Stenson, who shared the lead after the first round at Chambers Bay, shot a 67, which included a triple bogey.

Starting on the back nine, Stenson made an ideal start with birdies on the 11th and 12th, but then contrived to take seven on the 319-yard 16th when his approach spun back off the green into a water hazard.

Belfast Telegraph

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