__MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, MASS.—__Officially the 36th Curtis Cup began Friday morning at Essex County Club, with three foursomes matches leading things off. Unofficially, it wound up serving as more of a final warm-up session for the United States and Great Britain & Ireland. With each match ending all square on the 18th hole, the two sides were at the same place they started four hours earlier.
That's not to say there weren't some interesting moments under finally sunny skies as the biennial event commenced. How often do you see players as talented as Americans Alexis Thompson and Jessica Korda four-putt a hole, as they did on the 14th in their match. (Said Thompson: "I turned to Jessica and said 'Oh my God, that was pathetic.' ") And when was the last time you saw the United States' Jennifer Song, considered one of the putters among the amateur ranks, roll a 30-footer clear off the green?
At one point, it appeared that__Mary McKenna__'s GB&I side might actually walk away with the momentum, leading in two matches and tied in the third. At least it seemed certain they'd win the opening match, as Sally Watson and Rachel Jennings took a 2-up lead on Song and __Jennifer Johnson__with two holes to play. But the American side rallied on the 17th with a clutch 10-foot birdie putt from Johnson to extend the match to the home hole.
On the par-4 18th, the GB&I side missed the fairway right and had to punch out to the fairway with their second shot. their third missed the green right and when it took two tries to get on the green, the Americans had stolen their first half point.
The result of the second match between Thompson/Korda and GB&I's Hannah Barwood and Holly Clyburn was the same, but only after Thompson redeemed herself with 18-foot par saving putt on the 17th to halve the hole.
Conversely, it was GB&I that made the big putt in the final tilt. Danielle McVeigh and Leona Maguire were 1 down on the 18th bit halved the match when McVeigh made a 12-footer for birdie on the final hole. "Obviously, it was very important to get that putt," said McVeigh.
Friday PM pairings
GB&I vs. USA
__2 p.m.—Danielle McVeigh/Pamela Pretswell vs. Jennifer Song/Kimberly Kim
2:10—Rachel Jennings/Leona Maguire vs. Alexis Thompson/Jennifer Johnson
2:20—Sally Watson/Lisa Maguire vs. Jessica Korda/Tiffany Lua
Friday AM pairings
__Sally Watson/Rachel Jennings, GB&I vs. Jennifer Song/Jennifer Johnson, USA, All square
Hannah Barwood/Holly Clyburn, GB&I vs. Alexis Thompson/Jessica Korda, USA, All square
Danielle McVeigh/Leona Maguire, GB&I vs. Cydney Clanton/Stephanie Kono, USA, All square
__GB&I 1.5, USA 1.5