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Scots stars Louise Duncan and Hannah Darling paired for opening session of the Curtis Cup

Louise Duncan and Hannah Darling will lead off the Curtis Cup for GB&I.
Louise Duncan and Hannah Darling will lead off the Curtis Cup for GB&I.

Scotland’s two new amateur stars Louise Duncan and Hannah Darling will be foursomes partners in the opening session of the Curtis Cup for Great Britain and Ireland.

Duncan, the Women’s Amateur champion and star of last week’s AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie, will lead off the opening session against the USA at Conwy Golf Club in Wales.

Darling, fresh off her Girls Championship victory at Fulford, will join Duncan to take on Americans Rachel Heck and Rose Zhang.

Duncan managed to get home for a night after finishing tenth at Carnoustie, but the 21-year-old was straight to Caernavonshire on Monday morning to link up with her GB&I team-mates.

No big reception after Carnoustie performance

“There were no big welcomes, I wouldn’t have had one anyway,” she said. “Everyone was excited for me, there were hugs and fist-bumps. But it’s great to come into the team environment.

“Everyone gets along well and we all know each other. The adrenaline is still there – if we’d had a week off or two weeks, we all would have played in The Open and have maybe a wee lull, so keep the adrenaline going and the excitement level is high.

“It will help carry us through the next few days.”

Duncan’s performance against the top players in the game on one of the world’s toughest courses has made her the centre of attention, but it doesn’t change anything.

“There might be a wee target on my back, but it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day,” she said. “I’m just going to go out there and play some good golf.

“All this during this season wasn’t in the plan, really, it wasn’t in the crystal ball that I envisioned. But it’s been great. To cap it off with the Curtis Cup, I couldn’t have dreamt of it.”

Year’s delay helped Hannah

This competition has been delayed for a year because of Covid-19, and Hannah Darling thinks that worked in her favour in the end.

“Curtis Cup was a goal last year, but I didn’t feel I really handled that very well,” she admitted. “The first few events before Covid hit I didn’t feel like I’d played as well as I probably could have.

“This was almost a second go for me and a second time to prove myself. I’ve really tried to just do what I do, stick to my process, not get too ahead of myself. Now I feel pretty happy with how I’ve performed over the last kind of run of events.”

That year’s gap has helped the team as well, she added.

“I think it’s almost helped the team develop a bit more, as well,” continued Hannah. “A few players have obviously turned pro, but we’ve still got great players that are in our team

“We’ve got Louise who won the British and did well at Carnoustie. A few other players have done really well at the Home Internationals.

“You’ve obviously got four English players who were on the team that won the Europeans. So yeah, it just builds on that and brings a lot of confidence to our team.”

Captain Elaine Radcliffe has paired England’s Annabell Fuller and Charlotte Heath in the second foursome. 2018 Women’s Amateur champion Emily Toy and Caley McGinty partner in the third tie.

The first two days feature foursomes and fourballs, with singles matches on Saturday.

Louise Duncan’s world moves on apace after her Carnoustie triumph

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