The R&A - Working for Golf

GB&I in sight of famous victory at Curtis Cup

Great Britain & Ireland will take a commanding lead going into the singles after an historic second day at the 39th Curtis Cup at Dun Laoghaire.

The home side began the day tied at 3-3 against their American opponents but won the morning foursomes 2-1 for a second day in-a-row before extending their lead to 8-4 by completing a 3-0 whitewash in the subsequent fourballs in which the three GB & I pairings were a cumulative 20 under par for the 46 holes played.

That incredible performance means GB & I need to accumulate just two and a half points in tomorrow’s eight singles to regain the trophy they last won at Nairn in 2012 and at the same repeat the victory at Killarney in 1996 on the last occasion the biennial match was played on the island of Ireland.

The Americans will need six points out of eight to halve the match and retain the trophy they won at St Louis Country Club two years ago.

Torrential rain resulted in play being postponed for 1 hour 40 minutes just after lunch but the delay certainly did not have any adverse effect on the home side.

When play was halted at 2.35 pm GB & I were one up in the first two matches and all square in the third and the situation promptly improved after the re-start when Olivia Mehaffey and Bronte Law birdied the sixth in the top match to go two up on Monica Vaughn and Bethany Wu.

English stroke play champion Law went into the second fourball series as the only player in either team with a 100 percent record and she extended her tally to four wins out of four when she and her 18-year-old Irish partner completed a 3 & 2 win.

That victory extended the home team’s lead to 6-4 and in the second game featuring Meghan MacLaren and Maria Dunne against Baily Tardy and Mariel Galdiano the home team also made a fast start after the break when they won the fifth with a birdie four. That gave them a precious two hole advantage over their American opponents and they went to seal another point with a 3 & 2 victory.

That match featured a penalty for slow play when Tardy was excluded from the 12th hole after incurring her second bad time of the round. Dunne went on to win the hole with a birdie four. It is believed to be the first time that such a penalty has been handed out to a player in the Curtis Cup.

In the final fourball Leona Maguire and Charlotte Thomas played some extraordinary golf against American No. 1 Hannah O’Sullivan and Mika Liu. The Americans took an early lead but found themselves five down after GB & I played the five hole stretch between the 5th and the 9th in six under par. O’Sullivan did pull one hole back with a birdie on the 10th but the GB & I pair won the 12th before easing to a 5 & 4 win.

“We came out strong this afternoon,” said Farquharson-Black. “I said before that I’ve been treating each series as three separate matches. I have always thought we could win all three matches. We were close on the first morning and this afternoon we managed to do it.

“We ended on a high this morning so I decided to keep the same pairings for the fourballs and it worked. Before we started I said to the players I’d donate a pound for every birdie and two pounds for every eagle they scored to Breast Cancer Now. Helen (Hewlett) is matching me for Downs Syndrome so after today we’re going to have to dig deep into our pockets.”

“Some of the golf out there was incredible. The message to the team is to go out and do it again tomorrow. We will enjoy the three points tonight and then regroup and stick to the game plan. Everybody has looked relaxed and happy all week and that’s what we will try to be tomorrow. It’s a nice position to be in but we have still to get the job done.”

Team GBI with the Curtis Cup
Team GB&I with the Curtis Cup

Farquharson-Black named Irish World No. 9 Mehaffey to lead the GB & I team out in the singles and she will be up against World No. 1 and reigning US champion O’Sullivan. The rest of the pairings consist of Thomas against Tardy, Maguire against Brooks, Rochelle Morris against Vaughn, Alice Hewson against Andrea Lee, Law against Liu, MacLaren against Wu and Dunne against Galdiano.

“We’ve just to go out there will all guns blazing,” said US captain Robin Burke. “GB & I obviously had a good day and made a lot of putts. They played extremely well and a few of my players also played well. They just made more putts than us. A lot more putts than us.”

“That’s how golf is sometimes. I don’t feel like they took the wind out of our sails. I think they lit a fire within us and we’ll be ready to go out and play hard tomorrow.”