Great Britain and Ireland captain Tracy Loveys has described her team’s third place finish in the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup in Texas as a ‘wonderful achievement’.
The five-strong team comprised Ireland’s Hazel Kavanagh, Heather MacRae from Scotland, and English trio Suzanne Dickens, Ali Gray, and Maria Tulley.
Reflecting on their performance, Loveys, the head PGA Professional at Bigbury Golf Club, Devon, said: “Each one proved their right to be in the team.
“To finish third behind USA and Canada is a wonderful achievement. They played some fantastic golf in testing conditions.”
Not least when, inspired by Kavanagh, Great Britain and Ireland saved their best till last as did Canada in what transpired to be a thrilling finale.
With the hosts well-placed at the start of the third and final round to become the first winners of the trophy, Loveys’ team began it aiming to usurp Canada in second place.
The Canadians, 10 points adrift of the USA and 16 ahead of Great Britain and Ireland at the start had a different agenda, however.
With the best three rounds from the five team members counting towards the overall score, Canada posted the best return of the tournament: a combined one-over-par total of 217.
Inspired by Christine Wong, who posted her second sub-par round of the tournament – a one-under par 71 – Canada twice came within four shots of the USA – the margin between the two teams at the finish.
Meanwhile, Kavanagh reprised the form that made her the first women to win a PGA national tournament with a one-over-par round of 73
It was the best round posted by any of the Great Britain and Ireland team in the tournament and ensured all five members contributed to the overall score.
In terms of overhauling the Canadians, however, Kavanagh’s effort was to no avail. Likewise those of Tulley and Gray.
Both delivered their best rounds, carding rounds of three and four-over-par respectively as Great Britain and Ireland finished on plus-50 for the tournament, 23 shots adrift of Canada but 17 clear of Australia and 27 ahead of fifth-placed Sweden.
Although Kavanagh occupied the limelight on day three, MacRae consolidated her reputation as Ms Consistency and position as Great Britain and Ireland’s most effective performer with her third successive round of four-over.
Given that the tournament was launched to the strains of a piper, that was perhaps appropriate.
Dickens also contributed twice, not least on day two when strong winds and driving rain made an already tough course even more challenging.
Justifiably, Loveys refused to single out an individual for praise, insisting everyone played their part.
“The fact that each member contributed to the team score over the three days of competition is fantastic,” she added.
“I am so proud of all of them – it was a great week for female professional golfers all over the world.”
Final scores: USA +23, Canada +27, Great Britain & Ireland +50, Australia +67, Sweden +77.