Top amateur golf moments of 2018, No. 17: Red, white & blue
Opening ceremonies at the Curtis Cup (USGA photo/AGC photo illustration)
Opening ceremonies at the Curtis Cup (USGA photo/AGC photo illustration)

At AmateurGolf.com, we admit to loving the amateur sector of this game for the stories, the depth of the players, the remarkable courses, the history of the tournaments and the sheer love of the game displayed by amateur golfers. As 2018 comes to a close, we’ve gathered the year’s best stories for a countdown to the end of the season. Be sure to come back each day to relive the moments that made amateur golf great this year.

Click here to see the whole list as it is revealed

If the 2018 Curtis Cup matches, at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y., lacked anything, it was drama. Home-country advantage is always a major factor in the matches that date to 1932, but it seemed more so this time around. Or perhaps the U.S. team was just that good.

The Americans had a 2-1 lead after the first round of four-ball matches, a 4-2 lead after the first day of the Cup, and had created a 17-3 margin of victory by the end of the third day of play.

It was the first time a team has swept all eight singles matches (the U.S. did something similar in 1990, when only six singles matches were played) in the history of the event. That 17-3 margin is also the largest in Curtis Cup history, replacing an 11-point American victory in 1982 at Denver (Colo.) CC.

“The feeling is a great feeling, and of course I've never been on a losing side,” said U.S. captain Virginia Derby Grimes, who was a player on three winning teams. “It's just a really good feeling, and it's good to see them get to experience that winning feeling.”

The U.S. team was made up entirely of college players but for one teenager, 15-year-old Lucy Li, who went 3-0-1 for the Americans. Without a doubt, the MVP was two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Kristen Gillman, who went 5-0 in the matches. She became only the third player in Curtis Cup history to do that, joining Stacy Lewis (U.S.) and Bronte Law (GB&I) in that distinguished group.

There was a common thread between the U.S. Curtis Cup rout and a historic U.S. victory in the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship three months later. Gillman plus Curtis Cup teammates Jennifer Kupcho and Lilia Vu made up the U.S. squad that won the country’s first Espirito Santo trophy since 1998.

The U.S., in winning its first medal since Argentina in 2010, posted a 29-under-par 551.

“We have the strong bond already from the beginning, especially yesterday when we were all struggling we all fought for each other,” said Kupcho, who is about to start her senior season at Wake Forest. “We all wanted to win for each other, and I think that was a big thing coming out of yesterday. And, I think that’s how we got our big lead coming into today.

Interestingly, all three players earned an LPGA card for the 2019 season, though Kupcho will defer until the end of the spring college season. But that’s a story for another day.

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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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