Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass. – A closely fought battle between the USA and Great Britain and Ireland on a breezy, sun-struck afternoon on Friday at the historic 6,247-yard, par-70 Essex County Club gave the visitors a one-point lead, 3½-2½, in the 36th Curtis Cup Match.
Great Britain and Ireland is seeking its first win since 1996 in this biennial competition that was founded in 1932 by Essex members Margaret and Harriot Curtis.
Of the three foursomes (alternate-shot) encounters and three best-ball matches Friday, four ended on the 18th hole. The last four-ball match in the afternoon session between GB&I’s Sally Watson and Lisa Maguire and the USA’s Jessica Korda and Tiffany Lua, gave GB&I its leading margin.
Leading 1 up, both GB&I players drove into the fairway of the 414-yard, par 4 18th hole. But the flagstick was tucked near the left edge of the green and Maguire’s position on the right side of the fairway gave her a better angle of approach. The 15-year-old from Ireland hit a 6-iron to within 20 feet of the hole. She was followed by Korda, whose approach was 5 feet closer.
Both players narrowly missed their birdie attempts, but Lua got it up and down from deep grass behind the green for a USA par. Maguire stood over her 2½-footer, knowing if she converted, GB&I would win the match.
I was just thinking of holing it, said Maguire. When it went in, there was a huge roar from GB&I supporters, who have not enjoyed a Curtis Cup victory in 14 years. Incidentally, that was the last time GB&I led after the first day.
Sally, my partner, had made a lot of putts all the way around, so I was delighted, said Maguire, whose twin sister, Leona, also is competing this week.
GB&I captain Mary McKenna was philosophical about her team’s one-point lead. They (the USA) stole it in the morning in the first [foursomes] match, and we stole it back in the afternoon. But it’s only day one.
Mohler, the USA captain, added: There’s lots of golf left … and that’s what I’ll tell my team. ‘Get ‘er done’ has kind of been our motto.
The USA captured its lone point in the four-ball matches when Alexis Thompson and Jennifer Johnson handed Rachel Jennings and Leona Maguire, a 3-and-2 defeat. The GB&I team picked up another point when Danielle McVeigh, at 22 the oldest player competing this week, and Pamela Pretswell led off the afternoon encounters with a surprising 4-and-3 victory over Jennifer Song and Kimberly Kim, who own three USGA national championships between them and have been in seven USGA amateur finals.
The Curtis Cup continues on Saturday with three four-ball matches and three foursomes matches, then concludes on Sunday with eight singles.
The Curtis Cup Match is conducted by the United States Golf Association and the Ladies Golf Union.
Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass. – Results of the first round of foursomes and four-balls at the 2010 Curtis Cup Match, played Friday at the par-70, 6,247-yard Essex County Club.
Sally Watson, Scotland, and Rachel Jennings, England (GB&I) halved with Jennifer Song, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Jennifer Johnson, La Quinta, Calif. (USA)
Hannah Barwood, England, and Holly Clyburn, England (GB&I) halved with Alexis Thompson, Coral Springs, Fla., and Jessica Korda, Bradenton, Fla. (USA)
Danielle McVeigh, Ireland, and Leona Maguire, Ireland (GB&I) halved with Cydney Clanton, Concord, N.C., and Stephanie Kono, Honolulu, Hawaii (USA)
Danielle McVeigh, Ireland, and Pamela Pretswell, Scotland (GB&I) def. Jennifer Song, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Kimberly Kim, Pahoa, Hawaii (USA), 4 and 3
Alexis Thompson, Coral Springs, Fla., and Jennifer Johnson, La Quinta, Calif. (USA) def. Rachel Jennings, England, and Leona Maguire, Ireland (GB&), 3 and 2
Sally Watson, Scotland, and Lisa Maguire, Ireland (GB&I) def. Jessica Korda, Bradenton, Fla., and Tiffany Lua, Rowland Heights, Calif. (USA), 1 up
Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass. – Pairings for the second round of four-ball matches, to be played Saturday morning at the par-70, 6,247-yard Essex County Club (times are EDT):
8:30 a.m. – Danielle McVeigh, Ireland, and Pamela Pretswell, Scotland (GB&I) vs. Alexis Thompson, Coral Springs, Fla., and Jessica Korda, Bradenton, Fla. (USA)
8:40 a.m. – Leona Maguire, Ireland, and Lisa Maguire, Ireland (GB&) vs. Jennifer Song, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Cydney Clanton, Concord, N.C. (USA)
8:50 a.m. – Sally Watson, Scotland, and Rachel Jennings, England, (GB&I) vs. Stephanie Kono, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Kimberly Kim, Pahoa, Hawaii (USA)