Curtis Cup Day 2 Four-Balls: Sweep Gives U.S. Big Lead
09 Jun 2018
by Julie Williams of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for Curtis Cup, Merion Golf Club - East Course

It was all red, white and blue on Saturday morning (USGA photo)
It was all red, white and blue on Saturday morning (USGA photo)

SCARSDALE, N.Y. (June 9, 2018) – Elaine Farquharson-Black knows that Curtis Cups staged in the United States always come down to short game. The Great Britain and Ireland captain needed a rally from her team Saturday morning that she didn’t get. The Americans out-putted GB&I in a 3-0 morning sweep at Quaker Ridge Golf Club for a 7-2 lead that looks nearly insurmountable for the visitors.

For two days, Jennifer Kupcho has the been the lead-off player for the U.S. Kupcho, who last month won the NCAA individual title, is playing as well as ever. Her playing style normally matches her soft-spoken nature – smile sweetly and hit it to the middle of the green.

But when Kupcho and partner Kristen Gillman, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, found themselves 1 down to Olivia Mehaffey and Sophie Lamb after seven holes, they decided they’d better get aggressive.

“In this kind of format, you have to go for pins,” Kupcho said. “You can't really be conservative. You always have a partner that can hit to the middle of the green after, so we started doing that, and then we made birdies.”

The U.S. pairing made five in the next nine holes, in fact, to effectively close out GB&I’s strongest pairing on the 16th green. The big difference in Mehaffey and Lamb, playing together for the third consecutive match, was the amount of putts that fell. Neither player could get them to drop, and it amounted to the side’s first loss.

“We all knew after yesterday we needed to get off to a good start,” Lamb said of being in the lead-off position for the third time. “Unfortunately, we didn’t do that, but we’re all fighting really hard and we’ve got really good team spirit.”

After Friday’s matches, when GB&I trailed the U.S. by two points, Farquharson-Black’s message to her players was to continue to bear down.

Similarly, U.S. captain Virginia Derby Grimes wanted her players to keep a level head, knowing from experience that leads can evaporate quickly. Derby Grimes played on a winning U.S. Curtis Cup team three times and knows you don’t win by letting up.

For Andrea Lee, this is a second Curtis Cup appearance. Even though she’s familiar with the hype that comes with the matches, she was still surprised to see a young fan produce an “Andrea Lee” baseball-style card at the end of her match and ask for an autograph. It was part of a full set of all players competing this week.

“I hadn’t seen them until today, they’re awesome,” Lee said.

Lee, a returner from the 2016 U.S. Curtis Cup squad, paired with 15-year-old Lucy Li on Saturday morning to take down Lily May Humphreys and Shannon McWilliam, 3 and 2. Like Kupcho and Gillman, the anchor side also went 5 under on the day.

Despite the deficit, GB&I crowds were vocal. It reminded Lee of the matches in Ireland two years ago. She and Li answered with birdies.

“We had to match the Europeans somehow,” Lee said.

GB&I might be thinking the same thing.

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ABOUT THE Curtis Cup

Officially named "The Women's International Cup," the first Curtis Cup wasn't officially held until 1932. The biennial competition features the best female players from the United States of America pitted against a similar squad from Great Britain and Ireland. While it was hoped that many nations would eventually join the Match, the Curtis Cup has remained a two-sided competition.

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