13 May 2008

With just over two weeks remaining until Wrexham’s Breanne Loucks takes on the United States in the Curtis Cup, she is busy sharpening her skills for St Andrews.

But, next week, her attentions are focused a little closer to home as she aims to retain her title in the Welsh Ladies’ Close Championship at Monmouthshire Golf Club (19-21 May 2008).Breanne Loucks GB & I. Credit LGU. thumbnail

It is the first time that the Monmouthshire club has played host to the Championship and Loucks believes it will be a good backdrop for the talent that Wales’ women currently boasts:

"I haven't played the course before, but my coach has and he knows what shots I will need ready for the event. So I'm having a few lessons this week so I can learn or practise those shots. I have heard it is very tree-lined and mature. It sounds like a very pretty course and I'm really looking forward to playing it.

"I do feel a little bit of pressure as defending champion, but I am trying to push that to the back of my mind and focus on the present. I'm going to work hard and prepare to the best of my ability to try to keep the title. Everyone wants to win, including me, and I feel everyone has a great chance of winning. Wales as a nation has started really well this season, so I'm sure all the other girls are feeling quite confident about their games."

The 20-year-old is the only player to have survived from the 2006 squad. And though she won all her matches two years ago, the GB and Ireland side lost 6½-11½. She feels, though, that the team is fully primed:

"Just yesterday I was practising some new shots ready for St Andrews - ones that I will need for that type of course. We also had a training weekend last week and it went really well. Lawrence Farmer, the GB&I coach, was helping us all with choosing the correct shots when we are in quite difficult situations. We practised our bunker shots, chip and runs and long, undulating, pace putts. We had a great weekend, everyone got on really well and we are all really looking forward to the end of the month."

SAHRA HASSAN - THUMBNAILThe Welsh Ladies’ Close Championship will also feature Sahra Hassan and Rhian Wyn Thomas who both play out of the Vale of Glamorgan. Hassan is a reserve for the Curtis Cup while Thomas will be gunning to continue her good run of form.

Thomas, 21, ended the long wait for a Welsh victor earlier this month at the Welsh Ladies’ Open Stroke-Play Championship.

It was a title that even managed to evade Becky Morgan, Becky Brewerton and Eleanor Pilgrim.

Running alongside the Championships is the Welsh Senior Ladies’ Match Play Championship. Ann Lewis of Royal St David’s is hoping to safeguard her title, having beaten Carmarthen’s Vicki Thomas in last year’s final.