GB&I secured a convincing home victory over the USA in the Curtis Cup match at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in Ireland.
Meghan MacLaren, 22, delivered the winning point on the 17th hole, shortly before Bronte Law, 21, converted a 2-foot par putt to tie a record for most points in a single Match. Those singles wins ended any hopes of an American comeback and gave GB&I an 11½-8½ triumph.
“Nothing even comes close to this,” said MacLaren, who graduated from Florida International University in May. “This is incredible. I can’t even put it into words.”
It was only the third GB&I victory in the biennial competition over the last 20 years, two of which have come in Ireland. GB&I took the 1996 Match at Killarney, and then endured a seven-match losing streak to the Americans before winning again in 2012 at The Nairn Golf Club in Scotland, with a narrow one point victory. On Sunday, GB&1 went into the last eight singles matches with a four-point advantage, thanks to a clean sweep of the three four-ball matches on
Saturday when Elaine Farquharson-Black’s team shot a combined 20 under par.
With the Americans putting plenty of victories on the board – the score had narrowed to 9½-7½ and the USA was leading in the final match – MacLaren and Law knew they each had to earn no worse than a half-point. As the USA was defending the trophy, they only needed 10 points to retain, while GB&I required 10½ points to reclaim it.
MacLaren saw a 3-up lead against Bethany Wu, 18, dwindle to 1 up after consecutive mistakes on the 15th and 16th holes. But a Wu bogey on the par-5 17th ended the match.
Up at the 18th, word of the victory was radioed back to the GB&I players watching Law, who took a 1-up lead over Mika Liu, 17, at the 17th with a conceded birdie. A few players had to hold back their excitement as Law executed a perfect pitch from greenside rough to 2 feet. Liu nearly holed her long birdie putt but then missed for par. The stage was set for Law, who rolled in her par putt for the 2-up win, setting off a spirited celebration, and becoming the only player to win all five points in a single Curtis Cup.
“The team was just incredible,” said Law, No. 4 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR).
“For me, coming into this, a lot of people had written us off. We kept hearing things that we have a 32-year-old (Maria Dunne) on the team and she’s just been unbelievable, as have all the rookies. For me to end it this way – it’s probably going to be my last Curtis Cup – is just a dream. I am so proud to just represent my country.”
Law was a member of the 2012 team before suffering through a six-point rout two years ago at St. Louis Country Club, a USA side that included two of her UCLA teammates (Alison Lee and Erynne Lee).
Leona Maguire, 21, of the Republic of Ireland, the other three-time Curtis Cup player for GB&I, was also a member of the 2012 team after losing in her first Match in 2010 at Essex County Club in Massachusetts as a 15-year-old rookie.
Maguire, a Duke University junior who is No. 2 in the WAGR, completed a 4-1 weekend with a 3-and-2 win over Sierra Brooks, 17, of Sorrento, Florida.
The other half-point came from world No. 8 Olivia Mehaffey, 17, of Northern Ireland, who lipped out a 4-foot par putt on 18 to halve her match with world No. 1 and 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Hannah O’Sullivan, 18, of Chandler, Ariz.