USA cruises to Curtis Cup victory
__MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, MASS.—__The United States took its victory lap Sunday at Essex County Club, easily securing the two points needed entering the day to win the 36th Curtis Cup during singles play.
While American__Jennifer Song__ fell to Danielle McVeigh, 3 and 2, in the lead-off spot,Alexis Thompson had little trouble defeating Sally Watson, 6 and 5, in the second match. That allowed__Jennifer Johnson__, third in the singles lineup, to be the American to clinch the cup. A up-and-down par on the 14th hole allowed her to defeat__Rachel Jennings,__ 5 and 4.
"It's cool," said Johnson of being the deciding match. "In all the team events I've played in before, I had never done that. My match has always ended after we had already won it."
With the overall victory well in hand, the remaining matches played to their conclusion under cool, drizzly conditions. Americans Cydney Clanton and Jessica Korda won their contests for a 4-4 split of singles and a 12.5-7.5 overall victory for team USA.
"I'm proud of this group," said U.S. captain Noreen Mohler. "I didn't have to say much to them [this morning]. They just went out and played the kind of golf they were capable of."
The GB&I side had to get off to a quick start if it was to have any hope for miraculous Sunday rally, needing to win seven of the eight matches to come back and claim the cup for the first time since 1996. Ultimately, the task proved too difficult.
"The girls played their heart out," said GB&I captain Mary McKenna. "The standard of the Americans is just a little bit better."
The American victory was the seventh straight time the U.S. team had won the Curtis Cup and upped their overall record in the match to 27-6-3.
Thompson had a 3-0-1 record at Essex as she entered Sunday's play, the last round as an amateur for the 15-year-old before she turns pro next week and competes in the LPGA ShopRite Classic. She acknowledged that this being her last amateur hurrah did cross her mind.
"I actually did think about it [this morning]," Thompson said, "and I wanted to make this a great day."
That she did as Thompson took control of her match with Watson with wins on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes. A par on the eighth gave her a 4-up lead, as she continued to apply pressure on Watson. The two halved the ninth hole with birdies before Thompson won the 10th with a par.
While Watson halved the 11th with an impressive up and down for par, she watched helplessly with her ball in the right greenside rough as Thompson hit her second shot to five feet on the par-4 12th. Unable to get up and down for par, she conceded the birdie to allow Thompson to get the match to dormie. Thompson then closed things out with a par on the 13th.
"It was a great experience for me here," Thompson said. "I had so much fun. I was just happy I won. This is the way I wanted to end my amateur career. To end it with the Curtis Cup was just an honor."
GB&I vs. U.S.
__Danielle McVeigh, GB&I, defeats Jennifer Song, 3 and 2
Alexis Thompson, USA, defeats Sally Watson, 6 and 5
Jennifer Johnson, USA, defeats Rachel Jennings, 5 and 4
Lisa Maguire, GB&I, defeats Kimberley Kim, 1 up
Cydney Clanton, USA, defeats Hannah Barwood, 4 and 3
Leona Maguire, GB&I, defeats Tiffany Lua, 2 and 1
Jessica Korda, USA, defeats Pamela Pretswell, 4 and 3
Holly Clyburn, GB&I defeats Stephanie Kono, 2 and 1
__USA 12.5, GB&I 7.5
GB&I vs. U.S.
__Alexis Thompson/Jessica Korda, USA defeats Danielle McVeigh/Leona Maguire, 3 and 1
Jennifer Song/Stephanie Kono, USA defeats Hannah Barwood/Holly Clyburn, 3 and 1
Tiffany Lua/Jennifer Johnson, USA, defeats Sally Watson/Rachel Jennings, 3 and 2
__USA 8.5, GB&I 3.5
GB&I vs. U.S.
__Alexis Thompson/Jessica Korda, USA, defeats Danielle McVeigh/Pamela Pretswell, 2 and 1
Jennifer Song/Cydney Clanton, USA, defeats Leona Maguire/Lisa Maguire, 3 and 2
Stephanie Kono/Kimberly Kim, USA, defeats Sally Watson/Rachel Jennings, 2 up
__USA 5.5, GB&I 3.5
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
__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