GB&I leads after Day 1 for first time since 1996
__MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, MASS.—__Folks, we've got a match here at the 36th Curtis Cup.
Great Britain & Ireland took a 3.5-2.5 lead over the United States after Day 1 at Essex County Club, winning two of three fourball contests during the afternoon. It was the first session GB&I has won since Sunday morning fourballs in 2006 at Bandon Dunes and the first time the team had led after the first day of play since 1996.
Incidentally, that was the last time GB&I won the competition.
A three-foot par putt from Lisa Maguire on the 18th hole allowed the 15-year-old and her partner, Sally Watson, to halve the hole and win the match 1-up over Americans__Tiffany Lua__ and Jessica Korda. While the GB&I side never trailed in the match, the Americans had squared it on the 15th hole and looked as if they might steal away a point from their opponents. However, Watson holed a 15-foot birdie try on the 16th to retake the lead, then Maguire closed things out on the home hole.
"It was good to make that putt," Maguire said. "Sally had made some earlier in the day, and I wanted to do my part."
The match tipped the balance to GB&I after the two teams split the first two games of the afternoon session. Danielle McVeigh and Pamela Pretswell made six birdies on the first nine holes, taking a commanding 4-up lead on Jennifer Song and Kimberly Kim after nine holes en route to a 4-and-3 victory for the GB&I side.
The Americans claimed their first full point when Alexis Thompson and Jennifer Johnson defeated Rachel Jennings and Leona Maguire, 3 and 2.
"I think they proved to themselves we actually could do it," said GB&I captain Mary McKenna, who tempered her enthusiasm however. "It's only Day 1. We forget about that now and start tomorrow with a clean sheet and we go for three points in the morning."
Similarly, U.S. captain Noreen Mohler wasn't overly concerned by her position considering there are two days of competition still to be played. "There's lots of golf left, lots of golf left," Mohler said. "And that's what I'll tell my team. They know how to play the golf course. I don't have to tell them how to play out there."
__Saturday AM pairings
GB&I vs. U.S.
__8:30 a.m.—Danielle McVeigh/Pamela Pretswell vs. Alexis Thompson/Jessica Korda
8:40—Leona Maguire/Lisa Maguire vs. Jennifer Song/Cydney Clanton
8:50—Sally Watson/Rachel Jennings vs. Stephanie Kono/Kimberly Kim
GB&I vs. USA
__Danielle McVeigh/Pamela Pretswell, GB&I, defeats Jennifer Song/Kimberly Kim, 4 and 3
Alexis Thompson/Jennifer Johnson, USA, defeats Rachel Jennings/Leona Maguire, 3 and 2
Sally Watson/Lisa Maguire, GB&I, defeats Jessica Korda/Tiffany Lua, 1 up
__GB&I 3.5, USA 2.5
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