WOODSOME HALL’S Rochelle Morris has trodden an unusual path to England recognition.
Last year she reached the pinnacle of representative golf for women amateurs when she was a member of the Great Britain & Ireland team that beat the USA in the Curtis Cup.
But she will be just as excited next week when she makes her England debut as she was when she teed it up at Dun Laoghaire, near Enniskerry, against her American peers.
“I think it was a bit of a one-off, playing in the Curtis Cup before playing for England,” said Morris, who will hope to help country defend their European team championship crown at Montado Resort, in Portugal.
“I don’t think that happens to many people, if any. Playing for England was a long time coming, but I guess I have finally proved myself to the selectors and got the call-up.”
Morris’s standing as a Curtis Cup player has been embellished this season by a string of excellent performances. Her consistent play has led to a victory in the Leveret Trophy at Formby, and fourth-place finishes in high-class fields in both the Welsh Open Amateur Stroke Play and the St Rule Trophy.
She also reached the match play stages of the British Open Amateur Championship and tied for first in the Critchley Salver at Sunningdale, eventually placing third on countback.
“I am really excited about representing England,” she continued. “It should be a really great week and I’m keen to help England retain the trophy.”
She recently helped Yorkshire keep hold of their Northern Counties title in emphatic fashion in Morecambe and looks forward to more match play golf next week.
“We start with individual stroke play for the first two days, on both Tuesday and Wednesday,” she explained.
“Then the top five scores from each country contribute to the aggregate score and the top eight teams get into the first flight – there are three flights in all – and match play begins on Thursday ,with foursomes in the morning and singles in the afternoon.”
Alice Hewson (Herts), Lianna Bailey (Leics), Gemma Clews (Cheshire), Sophie Lamb (Lancs) and India Clyburn (Lincs) complete England’s team.
“I have been to Montado a few times to play in the Portuguese Amateur, so it is quite familiar,” said Morris, “and I think most of the team know it, too. I think Alison is the only one who hasn’t played the course.
“Obviously all the Europeans will know it as well so it will be pretty fair for everyone.”
“There is a lot of water on the course and it is a bit daunting coming off winter and then having to go there and hit shots over the water (in the Portuguese Amateur.
“But it will be a lot different playing it mid-season and I’m sure the course will be playing a bit shorter as well.
“It is a nice track, and the weather forecast is glorious all week. I think it is getting up to about 33°C Wednesday and Thursday so it will be hard work.”
While she knows Montado well, the opposite was the case in the Critchley Salver where she played the Old Course ‘blind’ having been unable to get in a practice round.
It was a contributing factor in her being unable to add victory to her triumph in the Leveret Trophy.
“There was no play-off unfortunately and I had the worst of the second rounds of the three people who tied for first,” she said.
“I was going well after nine, but then dropped a couple of shots on the back. It was purely because there were a couple of tricky shots and I did not know where I was going. But Sunningdale was really nice; I was really impressed.”