USA rolls in Saturday fourballs; takes 2-pt overall lead
__MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, MASS.—With the United States trailing after Day 1 of the Curtis Cup for the first time since 1996, the Americans had a response. Playing Saturday morning fourballs, captain__Noreen Mohler's squad swept all three matches, taking a 5.5-3.5 overall lead over Great Britain & Ireland at Essex County Club.
The Americans took control early, winning the first five holes contested in the morning. It was more than an hour before any of the GB&I pair won a hole in any match.
In the lead-off spot, Alexis Thompson and Jessica Korda won their first three holes and had a 4-up lead after eight over the GB&I's top duo from the previous day, Danielle McVeigh and Pamela Pretswell. While their advantage was cut 1 up after 14 holes, the Americans ultimately prevailed 2 and 1.
Jennifer Song and Cydney Clanton similarly seemed in control all morning in their 3-and-2 victory in the second match over GB&I's 15-year-old twins, Lisa and Leona Maguire. Song, the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur and WAPL champion, forgot her Friday putting woes, making nine birdies on her ball alone en route to the win.
"I definitely was making a lot of putts," Song said. "I just read the line and [they fell in]."
"Yesterday neither of us was made a lot of putts and things just weren't dropping," Clanton noted. "And so to see putts drop early on was a great confidence boost. It kind of let us sit back and relax."
While Stephanie Kono and Kimberly Kim also got off to a quick start in Match 3, taking a 3-up lead after six holes, GB&I's Sally Watson and Rachel Jennings slowly fought back. A birdie on No. 7, par on No. 8 and birdie on No. 12 squared the match for the visitors. Another birdie on the 13th gave them the only GB&I lead of the day.
Yet the Americans hung on, making a birdie of their own on the 15th to get the match back to all square. Then Kono holed an eight-footer for birdie on 17 to put the U.S. back in the lead.
With the match coming down the 18th, both Watson and Jennings hit their drives left into the heather. Despite several dozen spectators helping in the search, Jennings' ball couldn't be found, leaving Watson to go it alone in hopes of swiping a half point.
Watson's second shot impressively stopped five feet from the hole. As the birdie putt approached the hole, Watson thought it was going to drop, starting to pump her fist, only to see the ball hit the left lip and roll a foot away from the hole.
"Today was like moving day," said Song. "I'm so happy that everybody is doing pretty well right now."
__Saturday PM Pairings
GB&I vs. U.S.
__2:15 p.m.—Danielle McVeigh/Leona Maguire vs. Alexis Thompson/Jessica Korda
2:25—Hannah Barwood/Holly Clyburn vs. Jennifer Song/Stephanie Kono
2:35—Sally Watson/Rachel Jennings vs. Tiffany Lua/Jennifer Johnson
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
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