Tuesday, May 13, 2014



Just a week after her 21st birthday and a dream came true for Scot Eilidh Briggs (pictured) when she won the Welsh women's open amateur stroke-play championship over 54 holes at Prestatyn and clinched a place in the GB and Ireland team to defend the Curtis Cup at St Louis Country Club, Missouri from June 6-8.
The 2013 SLGA Order of Merit winner and Gemma Dryburgh, an Aberdeen-born student at Tulane University, New Orleans, are the two Scots included in the eight-strong team.
“It really was a whirlwind few days,” admitted Briggs. “I didn’t know that winning the Welsh would secure one of the two Curtis Cup spots from the LGU Order of Merit but it certainly worked out well.
“At the start of the year, I had a hope of making the team. Now I am absolutely thrilled.
“Becoming a Curtis Cup player is something I’ve dreamed about since I took up golf.”
Briggs is different from so many of the modern day amateurs. She is not a teenager just biding her time before making the switch to the professional ranks.
The Kilmacolm golfer manages to combine elite sport with her studies for a teaching degree in physical education at Stirling University.
“The University is great and so supportive,” she said. “I have extended my degree to five years and been able to reorganise my teaching practices from the summer to the autumn terms. I should qualify in 2016. I love teaching PE and am so glad to be able to do both golf and university. And I’ll still be an amateur by the time of the next Curtis Cup.”
Briggs took up golf when she was just seven and her record is impressive. In 2011, she won the Scottish Girls’ Championship and reached the final of the Scottish Championship.
She is a three-time Renfrewshire county champion, a three time winner of the SLGA Girls’ Order of Merit and has played for Scotland in two Women's Home Internationals and at the World Amateur Team Championship.
All her family - the family home is at Lochwinnoch - are great supporters. Older sister Megan - the 2009 Scottish women's amateur champion and a solicitor – and Mum Dorothy will both be going to St Louis as spectators and Dad Ian often caddies for his daughters.
It is Briggs’ consistency which has impressed over the last few years. “I had a lot of top tens in LGU events but needed the win,” said the player who is coached by Gregor Howie.
“Finally making the breakthrough in Wales was perfect timing.”
As a Stirling University Curtis Cup player, Briggs is following in famous footsteps. Catriona Matthew, the 2009 Women’s British Open Champion, played in the team three times during her period studying for a business degree.
Two years ago, Briggs watched on TV as GB and Ireland won the Curtis Cup at Nairn. Now she is looking forward to her US adventure.
“The University always sends players to the Orange Blossom Tour in Florida in January so I have played some golf in America and I’ll get advice from the Scots that are studying over there,” she said. “I know it is going to be a fantastic experience.”
The Curtis Cup team flies out to Atlanta and then on to St Louis on May 26. Before then, Eilidh will be competing in the Scottish Ladies’ Amateur Championship at Prestwick from May 20-24.