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Scots Have Eyes Set On Curtis Cup
The 21-year-old's day out at the Open Championship offered a rare break in a hectic summer of tournaments, plus serious preparation for the forthcoming clash between Great Britain and Ireland and the United States.

And with GB and Ireland having failed to win the trophy since Killarney in 1996, Vikki is desperately hoping that her one and only appearance in the biennial event will be a triumphal experience.

Having spent the last three years slightly hidden away at Berkeley University in California, Vikki admits that she was slightly surprised to be selected for the eight strong team that includes one other Scot in Bridge of Allan's Heather Stirling.

'I hadn't played much over here in recent years so I was a little shocked to make the team, although obviously delighted,' said the youngster who made her mark by winning a record four successive Scottish Girls' Championships.

But, as a US-based player, she does have the advantage of knowing several of the names on the opposing team - and not being scared of them.

'A lot of them are on the college circuit,' she pointed out. 'They're all good players, but certainly not unbeatable. I think we have a great team and I don't think we have got anything to fear.'

In a recent practice session at The Oxfordshire, Vikki teamed up with the British Champion, Rebecca Hudson, and another of the English contingent, Fame More, in foursomes and fourballs.

'I don't know if that's we'll be paired next week, but I've got a feeling that I won't be playing with Heather,' she suggested.

The team departs for the US this Thursday, and the experience will also include participation in the following week's US Women's Amateur Championship.

For Laing, it is certain to be her lone Curtis Cup cap. She will return to her university near San Francisco immediately following the US Amateur Championship to start the final year of a sociology degree.

By the autumn of 2003, she will already be turning her attention to a career as a professional with the aim of following in the footsteps of successful Scots such as Janice Moodie, Mhairi McKay and Catriona Matthew. 'I've always wanted to turn professional and the Curtis Cup will be the perfect climax to my amateur career,' she said.

At the moment, she will not commit to whether she will try the European or US circuits, but it seems certain that she will try to stay out in the States where the money, status and number of tournaments is so much better.

For 25-year-old Heather, it will be the perfect highlight to a season in which she has won the Scottish Championship and the Helen Holm and St Rule trophies. A good performance could also convince her to follow the professional trail.

As for the GB and Ireland team, the aim is to win the Curtis Cup for just a second time on US soil. The first was at Prairie Dunes in Texas back in 1986, although the visitors, as the holders, did retain the trophy following a halved match in Chattanooga in 1994 when McKay, Moodie, Matthew and a fourth Scot, Myra McKinlay, were all in the line-up. (Incidentally, McKinlay - now Mrs Murray and running a Guest House in Inverness - recently became a Mum to a bouncing baby boy).

GB and I enjoyed a heady run from 1986, winning in 1988, 1992, and 1996 in addition to the 1994 encounter. But the last two matches have been a huge disappointment.

©    23 - JULY 2002

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