England’s Women’s World Cup of Golf challenge has suffered a setback, following a late illness-induced withdrawal of Kirsty Taylor from this week’s tournament at the Gary Player Country Club. Taylor will be replaced by 24-year-old former Curtis Cup player Danielle Masters.

Taylor, the 2002 Ladies European Tour (LET) Rookie of the Year, was expected to form a very competitive duo with veteran Trish Johnson. "I’d rather Kirsty be going than me, really," said a sympathetic Masters.

"It’s a great opportunity for me, but it is not what I wanted my first World Cup entrance to be based on. It would have been nice to have got in playing well. I have such mixed emotions. I’m really excited to be going to the tournament but I’m really upset about Kirsty. It is not going to be a bundle of laughs."

Johnson, who boasts over a hundred top-10 finishes on the LET, was reportedly in two minds on whether to still come to South Africa, but decided to continue in Taylor’s absence.

"Trish and I get on really well," said Masters. "I love playing with Trish. With all her experience she’s a really confident player. We get on really well so I’m hoping that luck will be on our side and we’ll click straight away.

"We are lucky that we know each other well and it will be fun once we’re out there. I think the golf will be fun."

Masters had a consistent season on the LET, finishing 43rd on the New Star Money List with earnings of just over 50 000 euros. The highlight of her season was a runner-up finish at the De Vere Ladies Scottish Open, and she never finished outside the top 25 in any of the nine events that she played.

Masters is not expecting too much from herself at Sun City, having not prepared as adequately as she would have had she been in the initial line-up.

"I don’t feel that I’ve prepared how I would have liked leading up to the World Cup, but we’ll give it our best shot," she said. "I’ve been seeing my coach and going to the gym a lot. I came back from India and Dubai and had that time off until New Year. I went to a Pro-Am in Spain with Trish (Johnson), Becky (Brewerton) and Kirsty (Taylor) last week."

The Women’s World Cup of Golf, which includes teams from 20 different countries, begins on Friday with 18 holes of Betterball followed by 18 holes of Foursomes on Saturday and another 18 holes of Betterball on Sunday.