GB&I team captain Elaine Farquharson-Black has gone for an all-Ireland lead-off pair of world No 1 Leona Maguire and Olivia Mehaffey as the Vagliano Trophy two-day match tees off at Malone Golf Club today.
Continent of Europe captain Anna Roscio adopts a similar tactic - plumping for an all-French pairing to set the ball rolling for their defence of the trophy the Continentals have held since 2007.
Maguire and Mehaffey will play the new British open amateur champion Celine Boutier, a team-mate of Leona’s at Duke University, North Carolina, and Justine Dreher.
The second foursomes will see GB&I represented by Bronte Law, No 2 in the European rankings, and Chloe Williams against Naomi Jimenez Martin - no relation to Miguel Angel Jimenez! - and Luna Sobron of Spain.
Elaine Farquharson-Black gives Meghan MacLaren, a prolific winner on the US women’s college circuit, her GB and I debut in a third foursomes.
Her partner will be Alice Hewson, who played for GB&I in the Junior Vagliano Trophy match two years ago at Chantilly. MacLaren and Hewson will face Albane Valenzuela (Switzerland) and Nuria Iturrios (Spain).
Batting No 4 for GB&I are US college students Hayley Davis and Charlotte Thomas who will play Linnea Strom (Sweden), beaten by team-mate Boutier in the ‘British’ final at Portstewart a few weeks ago, and Madelene Sagstrom, the Swedish player who is ranked No 3 in Europe.
“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,” said Farquharson-Black
“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.”
There are 24 points at stake over the four sessions of play - four foursomes and eight singles each day.
This is the 29th of the biennial matches since the present format was instituted in 1959 and, despite the Continentals’ recent run of success, GB and I still have a clear lead overall with 16 wins against 11 losses, with one match drawn.
The Vagliano Trophy, Malone Golf Club
1 Celine Boutier, Justine Dreher (Europe) v Leona Maguire, Olivia Mehaffey (Great Britain & Ireland)
2 Noemi Jimenez, Luna Sobron (Europe) v Bronte Law, Chloe Williams (Great Britain & Ireland)
3 Albane Valenzuela, Nuria Iturrios (Europe) v Meghan MacLaren, Alice Hewson (Great Britain & Ireland)
4 Linnena Strom, Madelene Sagstrom (Europe) v Hayley Davis, Charlotte Thomas (Great Britain & Ireland)
The Junior Vagliano Trophy, Malone Golf Club
1 Agathe Laisne, Frida Kinhult (Europe) v Hollie Muse, Shannon McWilliam (Great Britain & Ireland)
2 Isabella Holpfer, Mathilde Claisse (Europe) v Mairead Martin, Annabel Wilson (Great Britain & Ireland)
3 Emma Spitz, Julia Engstrom (Europe) v Emily Price Mazel MacGarvie (Great Britain & Ireland)