English quartet to get into the Spirit in Texas

Meghan MacLaren

Four full internationals will represent England Golf in the biennial Spirit International Amateur Championship being staged at the Whispering Pines Golf Club, Houston, Texas on 30th October – 2nd November.

The quartet is Paul Howard (Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire), Nick Marsh (Huddersfield, Yorkshire), Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, Image © Leaderboard Photography), and Alex Peters (Notts Ladies, Nottinghamshire).

The event brings together leading players, men and women, from many overseas nations so the England players will face a tough test. Each team comprises two men and two women and is played on a four ball, better ball format over 72 holes.

Howard, 23, became a full England cap in this year’s Home Internationals. The Lancashire stalwart also represented England Golf in the Chiberta Grand Prix and the Biarritz Cup this summer after finishing fifth in the Welsh Open Stroke Play and 11th in the Lytham Trophy. Last week, he scored five points from six in helping Lancashire regain the County Championship.

Marsh, 19, a former boy cap, also made his full England debut in this year’s Home Internationals. A quarter finalist in the Amateur Championship, he finished equal fifth in the Chiberta Grand Prix and runner-up in thr North of England Youths Championship and the Welsh Open Youths Championship.

MacLaren, 19, is in her second year at Florida International University where, as a freshman, she won three times on the US women’s college circuit and was Freshman of the Year for the Sun Belt Conference. On this side of the Atlantic she won the 2013 Irish stroke play, represented England in the European Ladies’ Team Championship and finished third in England Golf women’s Order of Merit.

Peters, 20, is England’s top woman golfer having won the 2013 England Golf women’s Order of Merit, sponsored by Lorrin Golf. During the year she finished runner-up in the English Women’s Amateur Championship and the Welsh stroke play, reached the last 16 in the British Amateur Championship, represented GB&I in the Vagliano Trophy against the Continent of Europe and played in the Women’s Home Internationals.

England has a creditable record in the Spirit Internationals. In 2005, Sophie Walker and Felicity Johnson won the gold medal in the women’s event and, together with Oliver Fisher and Jamie Moul, took the international team gold.

Six years ago, the England quartet of Gary Boyd, Danny Willett, Elizabeth Bennett and Naomi Edwards came out on top to take the gold medals, while in 2009 England, represented by Matt Haines, Stiggy Hodgson, Holly Clyburn and Rachel Jennings, finished fourth in the team event.

The field contains the best 20 international teams who qualified through their final positions in the Eisenhower and Espirito Santo Trophies.