Curtis Cup Day 2 Foursomes: Li, Schubert Set the Tone
Lucy Li (L) and Sophia Schubert enjoyed their 7&5 foursomes win (USGA photo)
Lucy Li (L) and Sophia Schubert enjoyed their 7&5 foursomes win (USGA photo)

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – There is a seven-year age gap between Lucy Li and Sophia Schubert. It’s the difference between being a sophomore in high school and a fresh college graduate. Neither girl, however, views the void as quite that large.

Li, 15, has an older brother who is the same age as Schubert, 22. And Schubert, like the rest of the golf world, knew the name Lucy Li long before meeting her. On Saturday afternoon at the Curtis Cup, they combined to win a seemingly easy point for the U.S. at Quaker Ridge Golf Club. They chattered the whole way – Li bouncing, snacking and reading greens while Schubert calmly holed putts to take down Paula Grant and Shannon McWilliam, 7 and 5. It has been the largest margin yet in this event.

“I don’t feel like I’m walking with a normal 15-year-old,” Schubert said of the match-up. “Or maybe I’m just at the level of a 15-year-old. We get along really well.”

Li and Schubert made only one true birdie in afternoon foursomes (Great Britain and Ireland conceded a birdie and the match on No. 13). They won the third hole with a double bogey. It was not their best golf.

“We just did what we had to do,” Li said. “We were kind of making mistakes but we made a lot of really good par saves.”

The two share similarly accurate games. The kid wanted to hit more of the approach shots and trusted Schubert off the tee, which governed their tee-off order in this alternate-shot format.

It’s not always easy to keep your foot on the gas when you can barely see your opponent in the rearview mirror. That will come into play for the entire American team in Sunday singles. The U.S. team leads GB&I 9-3 after four sessions. GB&I won only one of six available points on Saturday.

U.S. captain Virginia Derby Grimes hasn’t changed her message all week, and she won’t change it now. Sunday is not a time for complacency.

“I keep reminding them, one shot at a time, stay patient and stay focused on the greens,” Derby Grimes said.

On Sunday, Schubert will be the first American on the tee, facing GB&I’s Olivia Mehaffey in the opening singles match. Mehaffey has been the strongest player on the GB&I team this week, so Schubert will need every ounce of the match-play mettle she showed last summer in the winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

It’s almost time for her to give back that trophy, one of the most beautiful in golf. It has lived in various places over the past year, traveling from her apartment to the UT Golf Club in Austin, Texas, to her Knoxville, Tenn., home over the holidays so she could show it to her family.

Not everyone, she found, understood what they were looking at.

“The only people that appreciate it are pretty much my family, friends and golfers because no one really realizes,” she said.

This Curtis Cup format is comforting for Schubert this week. As her amateur career fades out this will likely be her last experience with team golf. Schubert, a recent Texas graduate, is a week removed from finishing last at the U.S. Women’s Open with rounds of 85-79. She made quadruple bogey on the fourth hole in the opening round, and she could never recover.

“I wasn’t too happy after Shoal Creek,” she said.

Backing that up with a week of face paint and secret handshakes brought her back to her old self, and so did the mantra she repeated in her head.

“I know that I’m a good golfer,” Schubert told herself. “You’re going to hit bad shots.”

The gravity of the event hit her at the flag-raising ceremony the night before the start of the matches. Chills ran up Schubert’s spine as she looked around at the sheer number of supporters – many former players – who showed up to honor the history of the event.

A history that Schubert is now firmly ingrained in.

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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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