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Eddie Jordan and Paul McGinley on standby for El Rompido

Sunningdale Golf Club
The Mail on Sunday
18 May 2008

IF SUNNINGDALE reach the Grand Finals of The Mail on Sunday Classic, the galleries may well have the rare sight of two most unusual caddies on the course at El Rompido.

Marie Jordan, wife of former Formula One team owner Eddie Jordan, and Alison McGinley, wife of Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley, are members of the Sunningdale squad.

And after reaching the fifth round last week with a 5-0 win over Stapleford Abbotts, Marie Jordan said: ‘If we get through to the final, we’ll be getting Eddie and Paul to come out to carry our bags.’

Eddie Jordan is one of the great names of motor racing, the founder and owner of the Jordan Grand Prix team which operated from 1991 until he sold it in 2005. Jordan gave a young German called Michael Schumacher his Formula One debut and also had Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher as drivers.

Fellow Irishman Paul McGinley will forever be remembered as the man who sank the winning putt in the 2002 Ryder Cup at The Belfry. He was at college in San Diego when he met Alison, who played for England before she joined the European Ladies Professional Tour in 1989. Alison gave up professional golf when she married Paul in 1996. They live in Sunningdale with their three children Niamh, Killian and Maia and Alison has now been re-instated as an amateur.

Marie said: ‘Alison was a top golfer and she still plays off scratch even though she is busy bringing up a family. I am also captain of the Sunningdale scratch team and Alison is my star. She obviously gets a lot of support from Paul with her golf, but Eddie is very encouraging to me as well and he’s a pretty good golfer himself. He plays off 12 at Wentworth, so golf is a big bond between us. If we get through to the finals, I am sure Eddie and Paul would want to come to support us.’

It is still a long way to the Grand Finals in Spain in November, but Marie, who plays off seven, says there is already excitement at the club. ‘It's a great competition. I love it. I used to play for The Oxfordshire when I was a member there, but we didn't make much progress. But Sunningdale is very competitive these days, there's a good atmosphere and everyone gets very excited when we win. Now we just have to keep it going.’

In addition to Jordan and McGinley, Sunningdale team captain Angela Davies is blessed with a remarkable squad which includes top amateur Carole Caldwell, who twice played in the Curtis Cup, Sarah Knollys, who has played in every match this season and has won all of them, and Helena Felix, whose mother was the legendary pre-war Czech sportswoman Lady Luisa Abrahams. When she was junior tennis champion of Czechoslovakia, her ball boy was Jaroslav Drobny who went on to win Wimbledon in 1954.

Also in the squad is one of the great potential talents of the future, Ellis Keenan, 17, who in the last month has won the Hampshire Rose at North Hants with a second round 67 which included five birdies and an eagle on the back nine, and the Surrey Girls Championship at Hankley Common by 16 shots.

All the team are enthusiastic supporters of the CLIC-Sargent charity which cares for children and young people with cancer, and their families, in hospital and the community. Last year Marie and Eddie Jordan staged a golf day at Sunningdale to raise funds which was attended by Ryder Cup stars McGinley, Darren Clarke and David Howell.

Marie said: ‘We have now reached our target of £5 million which means we can open the London Home from Home a few minutes walk from University College London Hospital in 2009 which will allow parents to stay with their children who are being treated.’

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