On the other side of the Atlantic, the U.S. Curtis Cup team laid the groundwork for a big rally at Conwy Golf Club in Wales on the eve of an anticipated lineup of singles matches. And then, in Saturday’s head-to-head format, the Americans finished it off.
Not since 2008 has the U.S. won a Curtis Cup match as the visiting team.
“We all knew we only had to win four to retain but that wasn’t our goal,” said U.S. team member Rachel Kuehn. “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.”
The Americans won 6 ½ of 8 available points on Saturday, polishing off the GB&I squad by a 12 ½ to 7 1/2 margin. That takes the all-time score in this event to 30-8-3 in the Americans’ favor. GB&I last won the Cup in 2016 at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in Dublin, Ireland.
Kuehn, the recent U.S. Women’s Amateur stroke-play medalist who is set to return for her junior season at Wake Forest, won the clinching point for the Americans, a detail that’s particularly significant because her mom, Brenda Corrie Kuehn, did the same thing at the 1998 Curtis Cup Match at Minikahda Club in Minneapolis.
Rachel Kuehn went out fourth in the lineup at Conwy, and battled Louise Duncan, who recently took low-amateur honors at the AIG Women’s British Open, all the way to the 18th hole. Kuehn took a 1-up advantage to the 18th and sealed the point when Duncan made double bogey.
In addition to Duncan, GB&I brought two other players into the week fresh off making the cut at the Women’s British Open. It looked like they had momentum on their side early as they got off to an immediate 4 ½ to 1 ½ lead on Day One.
The U.S. had evened the score going into the final session.
Once again in singles, however, GB&I started strong. Hannah Darling, the British Girls champion and a highly anticipated incoming freshman at South Carolina, was 3 up through four holes against U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Jensen Castle. But Castle was able to grind out a half in that lead match.
Charlotte Heath also had an early lead against Brooke Matthews but fell, 3 and 2, and only Caley McGinty could turn her lead over Gina Kim into a point for GB&I, winning that match, 4 and 3.
“We fought hard, that’s what we came here to do and we certainly did that,” GB&I captain Elaine Ratcliffe said. “I’m very proud of all the players and 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.”
U.S. captain Sarah Ingram said her players might have even benefited from the early deficit. It served to fire them up and inspire them to buckle down and fight.
“They just carried it over to today. I basically said – they’re pretty good at pepping themselves up,” she said. “Just talked about how proud I was of them as people in general and that I knew that they would go out and get the job done.”