USA Sweeps Singles; Reclaims Cup With Record-Breaking 17-3 Win
June 9, 2018 | Scarsdale, N.Y.
By David Shefter, USGA
The Curtis Cup is staying on the American soil in which it was played for this week at Quaker Ridge Golf Club.
A pair of U.S. Women’s Amateur champions – Sophia Schubert (2017) and Kristen Gillman (2014) – delivered the decisive points in Sunday’s singles matches as the USA rolled to a 17-3 victory over Great Britain and Ireland. It was the largest margin of victory in the history of the biennial competition, which began in 1932.
The Americans entered the final session with a comfortable 9-3 margin and needing only 1½ points to reclaim the Cup it lost in the Republic of Ireland in 2016.
A determined USA Team, which featured six of the top 10 players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, punctuated its dominating effort by claiming all eight of Sunday’s singles matches.
“I’m very proud of my players,” said USA captain Virginia Derby Grimes, who went 3-0 as a player in the Match and now is 1-0 as a captain. “They are a phenomenal group of girls. They’ve been so much fun to be around, and they just gelled and bonded.”
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Gillman, whose 5-and-4 victory over 16-year-old Englishwoman Annabell Fuller provided the clinching point, became just the third player to go 5-0-0 since the Match switched from two to three days in 2008 (see table below).
A few minutes earlier, Schubert, playing in the first match, defeated arguably GB&I’s top player, Olivia Mehaffey, 2 and 1. Mehaffey came into Sunday’s session with a 2-1-1 mark, but got down early against the recent University of Texas graduate and never recovered. Schubert, of Oak Ridge, Tenn., delivered a clutch approach shot on the par-4 16th hole and won with a par, and then closed out the match with an up-and-down par from a greenside bunker to halve No. 17.
“I was so excited to get out here today,” said the 22-year-old Schubert, the USA’s oldest player. “I played OK yesterday and the day before, but I was just ready to come out here and play their best player and just show them what I can do.
“[The week has] just been unreal. This has been a dream of mine for a really long time, just to make the Curtis Cup Team and to win a major championship, the U.S. [Women’s] Am. So it's been incredible. It's definitely been like a whirlwind, and I've just loved every minute of it.”
Gillman, 20, of Austin, Texas, a first-team All-American this past season at the University of Alabama, played the equivalent of 2-under-par golf – with match-play concessions – in her victory. After halving the first three holes, she won three of the next four to take a 3-up lead at the turn. Even though Fuller, the youngest member of the GB&I Team, won the 11th hole with a par, she lost Nos. 10, 12 and 13 and a par on the par-5 14th ended the match.
GB&I had one last chance to earn a half-point in the final match, but Paula Grant, 24, of Northern Ireland, failed to convert a 12-foot par putt on the 18th hole, enabling Mariel Galdiano, one of the USA’s two returning players from 2016 (Andrea Lee), to earn a 1-up victory.
“We’re obviously very disappointed with the score line and all you can do is congratulate the United States on its win and the very high standard of golf they have played this week,” said GB&I captain Elaine Farquharson-Black. “We have played good golf in spells, particularly on the first day, but at this level, you have to have more consistency and at times we’ve just not performed as well as we would have liked.”
|2018||Quaker Ridge Golf Club||Kristen Gillman||USA||Annabell Fuller||5 and 4|
|2016||Dun Laoghaire Golf Club||Bronte Law||GB&I||Mika Liu||2 up|
|2008||Old Course at St. Andrews||Stacy Lewis||USA||Liz Bennett||3 and 2|
- The previous largest margin of victory was 11 points in 1982 at Denver (Colo.) Country Club. Fox Sports golf analyst Juli Inkster, a five-time USGA champion, was a member of that USA Team.
- The USA swept a singles session for the first time since 1990 when it went 6-0 at Somerset Hills Golf Club in Bernardsville, N.J. That was also the last time the USA won all four sessions of the competition. The USA claimed all five sessions of this year’s competition, a first since the format switch in 2008.
- For the first time in the history of the competition, every USA player claimed at least two points.
- For seven of the eight USA players, team competition is not over for the summer. The seven college players – Lucy Li is still in high school – will be competing in the Palmer Cup next month in Evian, France. The Palmer Cup features 24 American collegians – 12 men and 12 women – playing against a side of international collegians. It is the first time in the competition’s history that women will participate.
- The USA now leads the series 29-8-3.
Lilia Vu, No. 1 in the WAGR, on why the USA Team was so successful this week:
“We believe in each other so much. When we're on the course together, when it's like foursomes or four-balls, we just read each other's putts. We know it with confidence and just do it.”
Sophia Schubert when asked what kind of victory celebration is planned:
“Oh, gosh. I don't know if I can tell you. No, I'm kidding. It's going to be good. We're all so close, and we're just excited to just hang out and have fun.”
Great Britain & Ireland captain Elaine Farquharson-Black on what her side learned from the tough week:
“We have a very young team and the players will have learned lots from this experience, which will stand them in good stead for the future. They have given their all in this Match and I’m very proud of them.”
USA captain Virginia Derby Grimes on Kristen Gillman going 5-0-0 in the Match:
“It’s really rare and she played exceptionally well. She had it going. I definitely wanted to keep putting her out there, but she was playing well and making putts.”
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.