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Great Britain & Ireland fired up for first ever Women’s PGA Cup


Tracy Loveys is confident her five-strong Great Britain and Ireland team has what it takes to become the first winners of the Women’s PGA Cup in the USA later this month.

In addition to the host country and Great Britain and Ireland, teams from Australia, Canada, and Sweden are due to take part in the tournament in Austin, Texas, from October 24 – 26.

Loveys, the head PGA Professional at Bigbury Golf Club in Devon, will mastermind Great Britain & Ireland’s bid for glory as non-playing captain.

Her line-up comprises Scotland’s Heather MacRae, Hazel Kavanagh of Ireland, and three from England – Suzanne Dickens, Ali Gray and Maria Tulley.

Each one boasts an impressive golfing CV and Lovey’s said: “I don’t think I could have wished for a better line-up. They were the top five in the points table for selection and I’m very, very pleased.

“I feel I have a fantastic team that is capable of making history by becoming the first to win the Women’s PGA Cup.”

As for her role as captain, Loveys added: “I’m honoured and proud to be appointed, especially as I’m the first.

“When I got the call inviting me to be the non-playing captain of Great Britain and Ireland in the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup in the USA you could have knocked me over with a feather!

“There was no need to think about it. I accepted straight away. It’s a huge honour and one I am very proud of. Without doubt, this is the highlight of my career to date.”

Loveys, with four victories, is the most prolific winner of the Women’s PGA Championship but MacRae has that total in her sights.

She won it for the second time in May just days before undergoing surgery to combat cervical cancer that had been diagnosed in March.

The prospect of representing her country for the first time as a professional acted as a goal in the recovery process and she said: “It was my aim to make the team when this event was announced.

Heather MacRae

“So I was delighted to top the qualifying after finishing first and tied first in the two WPGA Championships and having the focus to be ready for this event has unquestionably helped me to stay positive.

“Although I have represented Scotland at every amateur level and Great Britain and Ireland in ladies amateur golf, this is the first time I’ll represent my country as a professional.

“I am so grateful to The PGA for giving us this opportunity and the PGA of America for hosting the inaugural event, it is the most excited I have been to play for my country.”

Participation for Kavanagh, meanwhile, marks a return to the international stage.

Hazel Kavanagh

“Golf has been unbelievable for me both professionally and personally,” she said.

“Competing on the European Tour when there was a full schedule, travelling around the world and making friends while playing golf on some superb courses has been an amazing experience.

“Now I’ve got the chance to represent my country on another one, Barton Creek in Austin, Texas – the venue for the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup. Making the team is the icing on the cake of my professional career.”

Dickens, Gray and Tulley share similar sentiments.

“It’s a unique opportunity and a once in a lifetime experience to play in the first ever Women’s PGA Cup,” said Dickens, a five-time winner of the Women’s PGA Order of Merit.

Suzanne Dickens

“I’m extremely honoured and proud to represent my country and I know there will be a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when our national anthem is played.

“All we have to do now is become the first winners of the Women’s PGA Cup. That really would be the icing on the cake.”

Gray’s impressive list of achievements includes being a member of the Ladies European Tour for three years, topping the Women’s PGA Order of Merit and, in tandem with retired dentist Pat Johnson, winning the Lombard Trophy.

Selection for the Great Britain and Ireland Women’s PGA Cup team tops those, however.

Ali Gray

“I am absolutely delighted, proud and honoured to have qualified to represent Great Britain and Ireland in the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup,” she said.

“It is a great achievement for me on a personal level and I am very much looking forward to being part of what is I’m sure going to be a hugely successful tournament.

“The venue – Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, looks amazing and I can’t wait to compete alongside my fellow professionals and hopefully bring home the trophy.”

Maria Tulley

At 33, Tulley is the youngest member of the quintet and her selection eclipses such achievements as becoming the first women in 103 years to win the Sussex Professional Championship, setting the course record at Willingdon Golf Club with an eight-under-par round of 61 and winning on the Tartan Tour in Scotland.

“I have accomplished some great things in my career so far,” she said, “but this has to be up there with one of the best achievements to date.

“I am thrilled to be representing my country in the first ever event of this kind. It is not every day you get to do that and I cannot wait to get out to Texas and show our opponents what the Great Britain and Ireland team is made of.”