The United States of America have won The 41st Curtis Cup after a comprehensive singles performance on Saturday sealed the trophy for the visiting side in Conwy, Wales.
The USA, captained by Sarah Ingram, recovered from a three-point deficit after the opening day to surge to a convincing 12½-7½ victory over Elaine Ratcliffe’s Great Britain and Ireland team. The Americans took a firm grip on proceedings in today’s singles winning six of the eight matches.
In a remarkable twist of sporting fate the winning point was secured by Rachel Kuehn, whose mother Brenda achieved the same distinction in the 1998 Curtis Cup Match at Minikahda Club in Minneapolis, Minn., and was on hand to see her daughter follow in her illustrious footsteps.
“We all knew we only had to win four to retain but that wasn't our goal. Our goal was to go out and to win eight singles matches. The more we can win, the less pressure is on the girls coming in. Just one more point you can put up for your country, it's a huge deal,” said Kuehn.
“It was like, oh my God, we won. Again, the comeback we made, I'm so proud of our team. We really kept fighting.”
Red singles wave
A day that had initially promised so much for the GB&I team, with the likes of Hannah Darling, Charlotte Heath and Caley McGinty taking early leads, steadily began to slip away. A tide of red began to wash across the leaderboard as Brooke Matthews, Rachel Heck and Allisen Corpuz took control of their matches.
Matthews secured the first point for the Americans with a 3&2 win over Heath and Heck soon followed up with a 3&1 result against Ireland’s Lauren Walsh.
Darling was never behind in her match with Jensen Castle and was 3 up with four to play but errant drives on the 17th and 18th cost the Scot dearly and Castle secured what had seemed an unlikely half point. Kuehn then saw off the challenge of Scotland’s Louise Duncan with a two-hole win to clinch the match.
Emily Toy also showed great resilience to fight back from three down at the 12th to win the next three holes with birdies and take Rose Zhang down the final hole but the world number one held her nerve to seal a one hole victory.
“I was very comfortable today. Elaine told me in the morning to not try to force things and I thought having that information freed me up to go out and get off to a good start. It's a shame that it was over. All I could do was just do the best I could,” said McGinty.
“It's been one of the best weeks of my life with the team morale. I think having that energy off the golf course transfers on to it and it brings the best out of you.”
It was fourth time lucky for USA captain Sarah Ingram as she finally got her hands on the Curtis Cup having been on the losing side three times as a player.
“It feels amazing to have come here and to come away winners. We've had a spectacular week, beautiful weather. The people are amazing here, so welcoming and helpful and cheering us on as well as their own players. We're thrilled to have come away the winners.
“I think after the first day they got pretty fired up and realised that they needed to buckle down and play well. They just carried it over to today,’’ said Ingram.
GB&I captain Elaine Ratcliffe reflected on the three days in Conwy which ultimately saw her team come up short in the end.
“We fought hard, that's what we came here to do and we certainly did that. I'm very proud of all the players, the manner in which they played and in which they do everything.
“It's been a phenomenal three days. Highs and lows. We could have just done with a couple of more highs today,’’ said Ratcliffe.