The USA Team swept the morning four-ball matches for a quick 3-0 lead. The afternoon foursomes (alternate shot) matches saw GB&I rally to halve two matches, with the USA winning the third.
“I'm never one to get very excited with a big lead because I've seen them go away, but they did a great job,” said USA Captain Ellen Port, a six-time USGA champion and two-time Curtis Cup competitor. “I think there were some great matches. There was a lot of energy, especially in the morning.”
The Curtis Cup Match, 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), continues with three four-ball matches and three foursomes matches on Saturday. 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 USA needs 10.5 points to regain the Cup. Each team consists of eight female amateur golfers.
Annie Park, 19, of Levittown, N.Y., leads the USA with a 2-0 record, including the afternoon’s sole foursomes victory with Erynne Lee, 21, of Silverdale, Wash. Park and Lee built a 3-up lead through nine holes over Eilidh Briggs, 21, of Scotland, and Gabriella Cowley, 18, of England. Briggs and Cowley cut the deficit to two with a birdie at the par-4 10th. Two holes later, Lee’s forceful 18-foot birdie attempt at the par-3 12th blew 3 feet past the hole. Park was unable to convert the comebacker for par, and GB&I was just 1 down.
“That was hard,” said Park. “I was just trying to breathe throughout the next hole. But we got it back together, and then just tried to do our best from there.”
With cooler heads, Park and Lee birdied the par-3 16th, a classic Redan hole, to extend the lead to 2 up. A par at 17 clinched the 3-and-1 victory for Team USA.
“Honestly, we left a lot out there,” said Lee, a two-time All-American from UCLA. “We were hitting good shots and pretty much playing slow and steady golf and they were just making mistakes, so we took advantage of it.”
After the morning shutout, GB&I desperately needed to add a tally to its win column. Its lone Friday point came courtesy of two halved foursomes matches decided on the 18th green. Stephanie Meadow, 22, of Northern Ireland, and Georgia Hall, 18, of England, let a 2-up lead with three to play slip away to Ashlan Ramsey, 18, of Milledgeville, Ga., and Alison Lee, 19, a freshman at UCLA. Lee’s 15-foot birdie at the par-3 16th brought them within one, and Ramsey nailed a 7-foot birdie putt at the par-4 18th to halve the match.
“I love being under pressure,” said Alison Lee, currently No. 2 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™. “I feel like I really saw the [approach] shot well [at 18] and she had a great stroke and made it. It was a great match.”
In the afternoon’s final match, Emma Talley, 20, of Princeton, Ky., and Ally McDonald, 21, of Fulton, Miss., carried their own 2-up lead to the 15th hole over Bronte Law, a 19 year-old UCLA freshman from Stockport, England, and Annabel Dimmock, 17, of England. But bogeys at 16 and 18, including Talley’s missed 6-footer for par at 18, gave GB&I another half-point.
“I feel like it gives us momentum going into tomorrow,” said Law, a veteran of the 2012 GB&I Team that won the 2012 Curtis Cup Match in Nairn, Scotland. “A half can sometimes feel better than a win.” “It's quite nice to finish on a high like that rather than not having it,” added GB&I Captain Tegwen Matthews. “I know it sounds probably silly saying that, only two half-points on the day, but you never know when that half-point just might make a difference.”
In the morning four-ball round, Park and McDonald teamed for a 4-and-3 victory over Law and Charlotte Thomas, 21, of England. Mariah Stackhouse, 20, of Riverdale, Ga., and Talley played bogey-free golf en route to a 2-and-1 victory over Meadow and Hall.
Alison Lee and Kyung Kim, 20, of Chandler, Ariz., cruised to a 4-and-3 win over Dimmock and Gemma Dryburgh, 20, of Scotland.
The morning was dominated by the Americans, who never trailed in any of the three matches. They were all square for only four holes, none later than the fourth. The USA pairings combined for a score of 17-under par and carded only two bogeys combined, both in the Park/McDonald pairing.
Story by Christina Lance, USGA
Morning Four-Ball Matches
Mariah Stackhouse, Riverdale, Ga., and Emma Talley, Princeton, Ky. (USA) def. Stephanie Meadow, Northern Ireland, and Georgia Hall, England (GB&I), 2 and 1
Alison Lee, Valencia, Calif., and Kyung Kim, Chandler, Ariz. (USA) def. Annabel Dimmock, England, and Gemma Dryburgh, Scotland (GB&I), 4 and 3
Annie Park, Levittown, N.Y., and Ally McDonald, Fulton, Miss. (USA) def. Bronte Law, England, and Charlotte Thomas, England (GB&I), 4 and 3
Afternoon Foursomes Matches
Stephanie Meadow, Northern Ireland, and Georgia Hall, England (GB&I) halved with Ashlan Ramsey, Milledgeville, Ga., and Alison Lee, Valencia, Calif. (USA)
Erynne Lee, Silverdale, Wash., and Annie Park, Levittown, N.Y. (USA) def. Eilidh Briggs, Scotland, and Gabriella Cowley, England (GB&I), 3 and 1
Annabel Dimmock, England, and Bronte Law, England (GB&I) halved with Emma Talley, Princeton, Ky., and Ally McDonald, Fulton, Miss. (USA).
Morning Four-ball Matches
8 a.m.: Stephanie Meadow, Northern Ireland, and Georgia Hall, England (GB&I) vs. Kyung Kim, Chandler, Ariz., and Alison Lee, Valencia, Calif. (USA)
8:30 a.m.: Gabriella Cowley, England, and Gemma Dryburgh, Scotland (GB&I) vs. Emma Talley, Princeton, Ky., and Mariah Stackhouse, Riverdale, Ga. (USA)