There was a family feeling today when an England U21 women’s team teed up against France at St Cloud, with two sisters in the side.
It was the first time that Lianna and Annabel Bailey had played in same England team – and they joked that they could soon be joined by more sisters.
“We’ve got more on the way,” laughed Annabel, 17. She and Lianna, 19, have two younger sisters: Jessica, 15, who plays off two, and 12-year-old Ellie, whose handicap is around 20. Then there’s their brother, 11-year-old George, who has a junior handicap.
What’s more, they’re all taught by their father, Ian, a PGA professional. “We’re a really close family,” added Annabel, a scratch golfer from Kirby Muxloe Golf Club in Leicestershire.
She’s played for England before – notably helping to win the girls’ Home Internationals last autumn. But Lianna was playing in her first England team event and she commented: “It’s a big moment, it’s good.”
She explained that sisterly support outweighs rivalry. “There’s a bit of both, but it’s more supportive. We both want each other to do well, but there’s the sisterly competition as well,” said Lianna, who has a handicap of plus-two.
“We’re always pleased for whichever of us has done well. In Spain Annabel didn’t make the cut so she caddied for me in the matchplay. Today I finished my match before her and went out to caddy for her.”
Today, the sisters were joined in the team by Sammy Fuller (Roehampton) Eloise Healey (West Lancashire), Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe) and Bel Wardle (Prestbury). The match, a warm-up for the French U21 women’s championship which starts tomorrow, was won by France 4-2. England’s points were provided by Sammy Fuller who won 5/3 and by Bel Wardle who holed an eight-footer to win on the last.
The French players had the edge on the greens today but Annabel commented: “It was a good warm-up and a good way to get into the competitive mindset.”
Caption: (from left) Bel Wardle, Eloise Healey, Annabel Bailey, Lianna Bailey, Sophie Lamb and Sammy Fuller.