Curtis Cup: USA wins sixth straight

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (June 1, 2008)--Stacy Lewis and Alison Walshe went undefeated to lead the squad from the United States of America to a 13-7 victory over Great Britain and Ireland at the 2008 Curtis Cup Match, which concluded Sunday on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

It was the sixth consecutive win for the Americans in the Match, which features an eight-woman amateur squad from the USA against one representing England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Wales. The last GB&I win came in 1996.

Lewis, a 23-year-old from The Woodlands, Texas, went a perfect 5-0 for the USA, with two foursomes (alternate-shot) and two four-ball (best-ball) victories prior to Sunday’s 3-and-2 singles win over Scotland’s Liz Bennett that clinched the winning point.

It is the first time any player has gone 5-0 in any single Match. This was the first year the Curtis Cup was waged over three days, featuring foursomes and four-ball matches the first two days and all eight players competing in Sunday singles.

“Coming in I wanted to play as much as I could and win every match,” said Lewis, the 2007 NCAA Division I individual women’s champion. “With match play you’re never really sure what’s going to happen. I’m very happy that I got all the wins.”

Walshe, 22, of Westford, Mass., won her fourth match with 1-up decision over Scottish teenager Sally Watson to earn the USA’s final point put an exclamation point on the six-point victory. It was the USA’s largest margin of victory since a 14-4 decision in 1990 at Somerset Hills Country Club in Bernardsville, N.J.

Tiffany Joh of San Diego, Calif., got off to a slow start in her match against Scotland’s Carly Booth, at 15 the youngest player in the 2008 Match. Joh bogeyed the first two holes to give Booth an early 2-up lead. But Joh, the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion, came roaring back to win seven of the next 10 holes en route to a 6-and-5 victory for the American’s first point of the day.

Kimberly Kim of Hilo, Hawaii, added a second point with a 3-and-1 win over Wales’ Breanne Loucks, the lone holdover from the GB&I’s 2006 Curtis Cup team.

“It felt great because the rest of the team didn’t have to worry,” said Kim, who in 2006 became the youngest U.S. Women’s Amateur champion in history, at 14 years old. “We got the points up fast.”

At that point, the only remaining mystery was who would clinch the winning point for the Americans. For a moment it seemed three-time national collegiate player of the year Amanda Blumenherst of Scottsdale, Ariz., would do the honors against England’s Jodi Ewart. But Lewis beat her to the punch when she closed out Bennett on the 16th green. Blumenherst’s match against Ewart concluded moments later, with a 2-and-1 win, giving the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up a total of 3½ points for the Match.

USA Captain Carol Semple Thompson, who played in a record 12 Curtis Cups, was impressed by her team’s effort in the singles matches on a day that featured plenty of rain, wind and chilly temperatures.

“I have a very strong team but I didn’t think they would play as well as they did today in the worst weather of the three days,” said Thompson, a seven-time USGA champion. “All credit to my players. They did a great job. They just stayed in there and finished strongly.”

Jennie Lee of Henderson, Nev., added another half-point for the USA when she halved her match against Scotland’s Michele Thomson.

The GB&I earned two victories Sunday, with Florentyna Parker defeating two-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Bolger of Oakland Park, Fla., 6 and 4, and Krystle Caithness earning a 2-and-1 victory over reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Mina Harigae of Monterey, Calif.

The USA now holds a 26-6-3 all-time record in the Match.

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