Sarah Bennett - 'We're not going to America to be runners-up'

Sarah Bennett - 'We're not going to America to be runners-up'

26/10/2022

The current Captain of both The PGA and the Women's PGA Cup team cannot wait for the second-ever playing of the Women's PGA Cup in New Mexico this week.

One thing the five players heading to New Mexico to represent GB&I in the Women’s PGA Cup will not lack for is preparation from their captain.

Sarah Bennett, PGA Captain, is also leading our team in what will be the second-ever playing of an event that debuted in 2019.

And the Three Rivers Head Teaching Professional is nothing if not assiduous when it comes to attention to detail.

“I’ve got to make sure that I’ve got all the strategies in place,” said Bennett. “The key for me is making sure that they don’t get upset about anything that is out of their control. It’s like the old adage – don’t worry about things that are out of our control.”

The Women's PGA Cup involves teams of five playing 54 holes of strokeplay. Each day, the three best scores count for the team. The unusual format has made Bennett think creatively about how best to prepare her players in practice.

The solution? Hidden partners – where you only find out who your betterball partner is after the round so you never know when your score might need to count.

“I’m going to go down the route of hidden partners where you never, ever give up – that two-foot putt, that sixfoot putt, just keep going. When I do it with amateurs, there is always a point in it. I want to try to get rid of the fact that you’re playing strokeplay, because it’s not, you’re playing with a hidden partner,” she said.

Bennett’s team comprises four players who qualified by right, with the captain selecting the fifth with a wild card.

She chose Alison Nicholas, the 1997 US Women’s Open champion and six-time Solheim Cup star, which suggests that she values experience – as well as Nicholas’s unimpeachable playing credentials – highly.

“I think we’ve got a really good combination, and we’ve got some experienced players,” she said. “Al’s done whatever she’s done in her career. But the fact is, we’re all getting a little bit older. And we’re not going to hit it quite as far as we used to. However, that grit and determination is there, which is critical within this format. And we’ve got Jess and Heather, who are long hitters.

"We need that combination because it is a long course, and we knew that the Americans were going to set it up long.

“It’s an open, undulating, desert course, so it’s going to be windy out there. I’ve already told them what type of grass we expect over there and the speed of the greens – so start practising downhill putts because our greens are not the quickest at the minute now we’re going into autumn.”

Bennett’s final message to her players will be to reinforce her belief in them.

“They’re all accomplished players, and they’ll be ready for it,” she said. “It’s a really well-balanced team. The Americans are used to the longer courses. They are the favourites. But we’re not going there to come runners-up – put it that way.”

CLICK HERE to find out more about the Women's PGA Cup.

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