Great Britain and Ireland have edged into a slender lead heading into the fourth series of matches at the 39th Curtis Cup at Dun Laoghaire.
The home team won the foursomes 2-1 for the second day in-a-row and go into the second fourballs with a narrow 5-4 lead.
Large crowds gathered for the second day of this biennial transatlantic contest and they were treated to some splendid golf from both teams.
The top foursomes match featuring Leona Maguire and Charlotte Thomas against Bethany Wu and Hannah gave a graphic illustration of just how competitive this Curtis Cup match has become.
The GB & I pair started brightly when they won the first hole with a birdie but then dropped a shot on the fourth to go back to all square. Thereafter there was never more than one hole in it before the Americans secured the point with a bogey on the par-4 18th hole.
Meghan MacLaren and Maria Dunne also won the opening hole in their encounter against Sierra Brooks and Andrea Lee. The GB & I pair went two up with a birdie on the second but the Americans clawed one hole back with a birdie on the fifth and then squared the match with a par on the 10th. Thereafter there was very little in it before the GB & I pair settled the issue when Dunne pitched to 10-feet at the 18th and MacLaren holed the subsequent downhill putt to secure a precious one hole victory.
The comeback of the morning came from GB & I’s Olivia Mehaffey and Bronte Law who were three down after three holes against Bailey Tardy and Monica Vaughn but were all square at the turn and then one up after the 10th where the Americans dropped a shot to par. The impetus in this game had clearly switched to the home side and they went further ahead with pars on the 12th, 13th and 14th. The American won the 15th with a par but Mehaffey and Law sealed a 3 & 2 victory with a par on the following hole.
“It was another very good morning. We’re very happy with that,” said GB & I captain, Elaine Farquharson-Black after watching her team grab their slender lead.
“The standard of golf was excellent again. The top match came down to a putt here and a putt there and that’s the way it should be at this level.
“The bottom match was big for us too. To be three down after three and then come out as 3&2 winners gives us a big boost going into the afternoon.
“I was pleased for the guys in the middle match. They played well yesterday but didn’t get anything out of it so it was good they won today. Winning on 18 was good for us too. On the previous three occasions a game has come down the 18th the Americans have won all three so it was important to stop that run and that’s what Meghan and Maria did.
“I was standing beside the green with some of the girls and they all said if there was anyone they would want to take that putt it was Meghan and she proved them right. It was a very brave putt and it gives us a slight edge going into the afternoon.
“It’s all to play for this afternoon,” she added. “We know we’re in for a battle.”
US captain Robin Burke was left to rue her team’s second defeat in two days in the foursomes. “It seems like we struggle in the foursomes,” she said. “That’s OK because we’ll come out strong in the fourballs. I think we’re going to be fine. Everybody’s still fired up. We’ve got a long way to go.
“It’s not a big points spread at this point. We do have to play well this afternoon. We don’t want to dig ourselves in a hole. I think we’re going to put on our rally caps and do a good job this afternoon.”
Farquharson-Black has picked the same six players for the fourballs who played in the foursomes meaning that both Alice Hewson and Rochelle Morris will sit out.
In the first fourball, Mehaffey and Law take on Vaughn and Wu. MacLaren and Dunne team up again after their morning victory to play Tardy and Mariel Galdiano while the last match features Maguire and Thomas against O’Sullivan and Mika Liu.
After three series of matches, reigning English stroke play champion Law is the only player on either side to have secured three wins out of three.