Bennett bursting with pride despite nightmare ending to American dream

Bennett bursting with pride despite nightmare ending to American dream


Sarah Bennett is a glass half-full person at the worst of times. So, it’s no surprise that rather than the heartbreak ending to the Women’s PGA Cup bugging her several days after the event, she was still buzzing from the experience of captaining a team she has christened the Fantastic Five.

She describes the scenario of Great Britain and Ireland being pipped for victory by the USA after leading the tournament with nine holes to go as ‘gut-wrenching’.

Her over-riding emotion, however, is one of pride following the way her players defied expectations by finishing just six shots off the pace after coming a distant third in the inaugural Women’s PGA Cup three years ago.

“I knew we had a great team when we went out there and they gave themselves an opportunity of winning the Women’s PGA Cup, which a lot of people didn’t think they had,” she reflected.

“I think it looked worse because it happened near the end. It flip-flopped completely over the space of three holes, but you must look at the whole picture and the way we played ourselves into it.

“Those last few holes were very tough. They were long and the Americans did hit the ball further than our players. That was the case on the par-five 16th which they were able to reach in two.

“And it’s easy to forget they’ve played on the LPGA circuit, so there was a lot of experience in their team.”

While not matching the Americans in terms of Tour experience, Great Britain and Ireland were rich in spirit and camaraderie. Which was another source of pride for their captain.

“We didn’t disgrace ourselves and played fantastically as a team,” she added. “From the minute we met at that hotel at Heathrow, there wasn’t one second when we were not enjoying the moment.

“The hospitality was incredible. It was a beautiful setting and the Americans bent over backwards to look after us.

“Everyone over there remarked on how together we were as a team and how we looked.  We looked amazing and all the other teams wanted our clothes, so a huge thank you is due to our sponsors.

“And everybody played their part on and off the course, which is what makes a team and that’s what we were. We were terrific.”

Captaining Great Britain and Ireland’s Women’s PGA Cup team was the latest memorable experience in a year that has been full of them due to her role as PGA Captain.

To date, she has given an address at the Peter Alliss Thanksgiving Service during The Open Championship, addressed PGA graduands at the University of Birmingham, and presented major winners Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick with commemorative medals.

She has no doubt, however, that leading the team in New Mexico has and will be the highlight of her year in office.

“To be involved in the tournament in the way I was and stand up at the opening ceremony representing my PGA and introduce the players sent shivers down my spine,” she said.

“It was a proud moment. I didn’t think it would eclipse anything else I’ve done during my year as PGA Captain, but this really did.”


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