The Evian Tour highlighted the difference between the professional and amateur ranks with a convincing 13-5 victory on Saturday over the GB&I Elite amateur squad in the Weetabix Challenge Trophy at Alwoodley Golf Club.
Hundreds of eager fans turned up to watch the annual match in perfect spring conditions around the Dr Alistair MacKenzie-designed course, and they were not disappointed in the standard of play.
Despite the score, and the fact the amateurs have only won once in seven years, GB&I Elite squad captain Claire Dowling was proud of the way her girls played and was delighted they gave their all and learned from the experience.
“It’s been a fantastic day and it was a wonderful opportunity for these amateur girls to look at and learn from the Tour players,” said Dowling.
“At the end of the day, they (the professionals) are in a different league, as they should be, and it is so good that they can turn up and play the matches against the amateurs.
“There were some great matches out there and the fact that the score was 13-5 is neither here nor there because the whole thing is a learning curve for the amateurs. The weather was great, the golf course was perfect and there was no pressure on anybody.”
Though the professionals took the upper hand with a 4-2 victory in the morning foursomes, the amateurs drew first blood when Emma Duggleby and Becky Brewerton defeated the Solheim Cup captain Dale Reid and Corinne Dibnah by 2up.
Playing captain Kirsty Taylor and Nicola Moult levelled the scores, scraping past the strong pairing of Rebecca Hudson and Fame More by 2&1. Like many of the matches, it could have gone either way, but steady play and solid putting from Taylor and Moult was enough to secure the point.
Alison Munt and Elaine Ratcliffe gelled well in their 4&3 crushing of Kim Andrew and Alison Coffey to extend the lead, but Scotland’s Julie Forbes and Ireland’s Aideen Rogers suffered at the hands of the hot amateur pairing of Chloe Court and Kerry Smith, losing 3&2.
With scores level, the professionals moved up a gear to take a two point lead into the afternoon singles thanks to victories by the in-form Caroline Hall and Wendy Dicks pairing. Loraine Lambert and Joanne Mills secured the fourth point, beating Kirsty Fisher and Elaine Dowdall 2&1.
Going into the afternoon, hopes were high among the amateurs who were looking to reverse the result from last year when they narrowly lost by a point. When Duggleby won her second point of the day from Reid in the first match of the afternoon singles, a spirited comeback looked possible.
But the professionals were in sharp form after the early Tour stops in Australia, Taiwan and South Africa and it would prove the difference.
Dibnah narrowly defeated England’s leading amateur Hudson when she chipped in for an eagle three at the final hole to win 1up. And with a convincing under par display by Taylor, winning 5&4 against Curtis Cup player Brewerton, it set the tone for the rest of the matches.
Hall showed further signs of form ahead of the La Perla Italian Open with a 6&5 drubbing of Dowdall and Lambert made light work of Hargan with a 5&4 win. But Ratcliffe had a battle on her hands all afternoon with the impressive 18-year-old More. But ‘Ratty’ squeezed out a 2up win in a drama-filled match.
“I am absolutely delighted that my team won,” said Taylor. “It’s a great event which has given us something to practice for during the gap between South Africa and the Italian Open.”
Added Dowling: “We feel honoured to Weetabix for sponsoring the event and the Tour girls for playing in it. I have known many of them since they were amateurs and I think it’s great that they still come back and show an interest.”
0800 Emma Duggleby & Becky Brewerton 2up V Dale Reid & Corinne Dibnah
0810 Rebecca Hudson & Fame More V Kirsty Taylor & Nicola Moult 2&1
0820 Kim Andrew & Alison Coffey V Alison Munt & Elaine Ratcliffe 4&3
0830 Kerry Smith & Chloe Court 3&2 V Julie Forbes & Aideen Rogers
0840 Eleanor Pilgrim & Claire Hargan V Caroline Hall & Wendy Dicks 3&2
0850 Kirsty Fisher & Elaine Dowdall V Loraine Lambert & Joanne Mills 2&1
GB&I Elite Squad 2
Ladies European Tour 4
1300 Emma Duggleby 4&3 V Dale Reid
1308 Rebecca Hudson V Corinne Dibnah 1up
1316 Becky Brewerton V Kirsty Taylor 5&4
1324 Alison Coffey V Nicky Moult 3&2
1332 Kim Andrew V Alison Munt 2&1
1340 Fame More V Elaine Ratcliffe 2up
1348 Kerry Smith 1up V Julie Forbes
1356 Chloe Court 2&1 V Aideen Rogers
1404 Elaine Dowdall V Caroline Hall 6&5
1412 Eleanor Pilgrim V Wendy Dicks 1up
1420 Claire Hargan V Loraine Lambert 5&4
1428 Kirsty Fisher V Joanne Mills 2up
GB&I Elite Squad 5
Evian Tour 13
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