ST. LOUIS – I fancied a putt, said Bronte Law of Great Britain & Ireland’s Team in the Saturday morning four-ball session of the 38th Curtis Cup Match.
And Law got what she wanted in her match alongside Annabel Dimmock.
The UCLA freshman slam-dunked a 30-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole of St. Louis Country Club to trim the lead of Erynne Lee and Annie Park of the USA to 1-up with two holes to play in the second day of competition.
As it would end up, that putt sparked a late-match rally that would give GB&I the momentum it sorely lacked. The Americans had overpowered GB&I 5-1 on Friday and the USA added two more points to take a 7-2 advantage following the four-ball matches on Saturday morning.
But GB&I’s one point seemingly lifted the lid in an event in which the USA has done little wrong and GB&I has struggled to match shots with its hot-handed counterparts.
We hadn’t holed a putt all day, said Law, who was a member of the winning 2012 GB&I Team. We’d been hitting the ball so well, so I was due one.
Down by two holes to the Americans, Law’s putt on No. 16 tracked slightly downhill on the expansive green and dropped into the hole.
After that, I had more faith in my game, added Law.
Law and Dimmock won No. 17 for GB&I to square their match against Park and Lee. Park’s approach shot bounded over the green and landed out of bounds. Lee’s approach shot ended up on the back fringe. She chipped to within 8 feet, but her par putt rimmed out.
Winning the 17th hole was definitely huge and we had the momentum coming up No. 18, said Law.
At that point, the USA’s Kyung Kim and Alison Lee had already won their morning four-ball match, 4 and 2, against GB&I’s Stephanie Meadow and Georgia Hall, and Americans Emma Talley and Mariah Stackhouse had edged Gabriella Cowley and Gemma Dryburgh, 2 and 1.
Now, it was up to Dimmock to win one last hole to secure their match. The British player stared at her 35-foot putt as a sizable gallery ringed the 18th green.
Law walked over to Dimmock before she putted and whispered into the younger player’s ear: How many times have you been on the putting green and hit these putts? It’s no different now. No one else is here and no one is watching. Just go and stroke the putt.
Dimmock stroked the ball to within 2 feet, and the USA conceded the par putt. Moments earlier, the USA’s Lee missed her par putt from 12 feet above the hole and Park got a bit aggressive with her 20-foot birdie attempt. When she lipped out the 5-foot par putt, GB&I had rallied to win its first full point of the Match.
This gives us a huge impetus going into the afternoon, said GB&I captain Tegwen Matthews. It gives us fresh excitement to get more points in the afternoon. Game on for tomorrow!
GB&I seemingly benefited when play was suspended for inclement weather Saturday at 11:39 a.m. CDT. It was down in all three ongoing matches and the USA wasplaying with confidence. When play resumed at 1:45 p.m., GB&I had regrouped.
Matthews said her players were in good spirits in spite of trailing and rattled the walls of their locker room with deafening rap music.
They were all very focused and each one of them said to me, ‘We’ve got it, Teg. We’ve got it,’ said Matthews.
Law agreed: The rain delay helped us because when we came back out, Team USA no longer had the momentum. It was swinging in our direction. Sometimes it’s hard to shift the momentum when you’re out there and they’re firing at pins, but the delay definitely gave us a spark and that was important.
Unbeknownst to Meadow, whose Saturday morning match was dominated by the Americans, her teammates were mounting the rally behind her.
Obviously, it’s hard to look at the leader board, but maybe if we can just get something going, it will lift up the team, said Meadow, who scored the winning point two years ago for GB&I and recently graduated from the University of Alabama. If we can put some points on the board this afternoon, you never know.
GB&I headed back out on the course for Saturday afternoon’s foursomes with a healthy dose of confidence. Their afternoon goal was to trim away at the USA’s lead and, said Meadow, to find a way to have some fun on the rain-soaked course.
It’s all or nothing now, said Meadow. We’ll just give it all we got and believe in it.
Lisa D. Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.