“I think they will be fine,” said USA Captain Ellen Port of her team’s mindset holding a substantial lead going into the final day. “They have been in this position before. They know it's not over until it's over. So I'm confident they will be calm enough.”
Another impressive four-ball performance on Saturday morning gave the USA a 7-2 lead over GB&I going into the afternoon foursomes (alternate-shot) matches. The GB&I duo of Annabel Dimmock and Bronte Law, both of England, mounted a furious four-ball comeback, winning the final three holes to earn the first full GB&I point of the three-day competition. The USA captured both afternoon foursomes matches that were completed.
Inclement weather wreaked havoc on the morning round, forcing a suspension of play at 11:39 a.m. CDT due to dangerous conditions for approximately two hours. Play was again suspended at 3:50 p.m., just after the afternoon’s second foursomes match had teed off. Play resumed approximately 90 minutes later.
Due to the lengthy delays, one foursomes match was suspended at 8:30 p.m. due to darkness. Ally McDonald, 21, of Fulton, Miss., and Mariah Stackhouse, 26, of Riverdale, Ga., hold a 1-up lead through 15 holes over Stephanie Meadow, 22, of Northern Ireland, and Georgia Hall, 18, of England.
“These last three holes are going to be like another match,” said McDonald, the 2013 North & South Women’s Amateur champion who is playing in her first Curtis Cup Match. “You have to play like you're all‑square or down, a three‑hole shootout. I expect us to come out ready to play.”
The match will resume at 11 a.m. Sunday, prior to the start of the singles session.
As the fourth round has not officially concluded, singles pairings will be announced on Sunday morning.
The Curtis Cup Match is a biennial competition between the USA and GB&I that dates to 1932 and is conducted by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Ladies Golf Union (LGU). The Match will conclude with eight singles matches on Sunday.
A point is awarded for each victory and a half-point goes to each side for a draw. GB&I needs 10 points to retain the Cup, while the USA needs 10½ points to regain the Cup. Each team consists of eight female amateur golfers.
Dimmock, 17, and Law, a 19 year-old UCLA freshman, trailed for all but two holes of their four-ball match with Erynne Lee, a 21 year-old UCLA junior, of Silverdale, Wash., and Annie Park, 19, of Levittown, N.Y. Park and Lee built a 3-up lead with a birdie at the par-4 10th. However, Law and Dimmock chipped away at the deficit, including Law’s long birdie putt at the par-3 16th. When Lee’s 8-footer for par lipped out at 17, the match moved to 18 all square.
Dimmock left her birdie attempt at the par-4 18th just short, and her par was conceded. A second consecutive lipout for par, this one by 2013 NCAA Division I champion Park, proved the difference in the GB&I’s hard-fought victory.
“We just knew that something good was going to happen,” said Law, who played on the victorious 2012 GB&I Curtis Cup Team. “We played well all day. The rain delay helped us because they had the momentum at that point and it broke it up a little bit.”
Two American pairings continued their inspired four-ball play on the classic C.B. Macdonald layout. Following their victorious outing on Friday, Kyung Kim, 20, of Chandler, Ariz., and Alison Lee, a 19 year-old UCLA freshman, of Valencia, Calif., made seven birdies on Saturday morning en route to a 4-and-2 win over Meadow and Hall.
Emma Talley, 20, of Princeton, Ky., and Stackhouse also earned their second four-ball victory on Saturday morning. Their bogey-free, 2-and-1 win over Gabriella Cowley, 18, of England, and Gemma Dryburgh, 20, of Scotland, included five birdies.
The Kim/Lee and Stackhouse/Talley pairings have dominated the first two days, with each duo making 13 birdies without a bogey.
In Saturday’s foursomes session, holes 11-13 proved to be the turning point for the two completed matches. Both matches went to the 11th hole all square. And in both matches, the USA walked off the 13th green with a 3-up lead.
“You've put a noose around your neck and you're struggling to get it off and that's exactly where we were,” said GB&I Captain Tegwen Matthews of her team’s struggles through that portion of the course. “So each and every (player), I just chatted to them and they all said, yeah, exactly what happened. Lose 11, or they birdied 12 or 13, and it seemed to be those three holes in particular.”
In the first of the afternoon’s completed matches, Ashlan Ramsey, 18, of Milledgeville, Ga., and Alison Lee posted a 2-and-1 win over Charlotte Thomas, 21, of England, and Dryburgh. In the second match, Kim and Erynne Lee defeated Eilidh Briggs, 21, of Scotland, and Gabriella Cowley, 18, of England, by a 3-and-2 margin. Neither American pairing trailed en route to victory,
Port partly attributed the USA domination to a home-field advantage for the Americans, who had a three-day practice session at St. Louis C.C. in April, a point that Matthews echoed.
“I would think that's probably an advantage as you would expect a home team to have, like we did at Nairn (Scotland, site of the 2012 Curtis Cup Match) in the same way,” said Matthews. “We kind of knew every blade of grass at Nairn.”
The USA’s 7-2 lead following the morning round was the largest three-round lead since the playing format was expanded to five sessions over three days in 2008. Regardless of the outcome of the final foursomes match, the USA will also hold the largest four-round lead. The 2010 USA Team led 8½ to 3½ going into Sunday singles.
Story by Christina Lance, USGA
Saturday's Morning Results
Kyung Kim, Chandler, Ariz., and Alison Lee, Valencia, Calif. (USA) def. Stephanie Meadow, Northern Ireland, and Georgia Hall, England (GB&I), 4 and 2
Emma Talley, Princeton, Ky., and Mariah Stackhouse, Riverdale, Ga. (USA) def. Gabriella Cowley, England, and Gemma Dryburgh, Scotland (GB&I), 2 and 1
Saturday's Second Round Results
Ashlan Ramsey, Milledgeville, Ga., and Alison Lee, Valencia, Calif. (USA) def. Charlotte Thomas, England, and Gemma Dryburgh, Scotland (GB&I), 2 and 1
Kyung Kim, Chandler, Ariz., and Erynne Lee, Silverdale, Wash. (USA) def. Eilidh Briggs, Scotland, and Gabriella Cowley, England (GB&I), 3 and 2
Ally McDonald, Fulton, Miss., and Mariah Stackhouse, Riverdale, Ga. (USA) lead Stephanie Meadow, Northern Ireland, and Georgia Hall, England (GB&I), 1 up through 15 (suspended)