ARDMORE, Pennsylvania – It was never really close. The only drama on Sunday at the 42nd Curtis Cup centered around which player would clinch it for Team USA.
That turned out to be Rachel Kuehn, who enjoyed the same honor last year in Wales. The U.S. won every session of every day, trouncing Great Britain and Ireland, 15.5 to 4.5.
“It’s just an incredible moment,” said Kuehn, whose mom Brenda Corrie Kuehn was waiting off the side of the green with a hug.
Rookie Megha Ganne, who went 3-0, called the week the highlight of her amateur career. She’ll be a freshman at Stanford in the fall, joining stars Rachel Heck and Rose Zhang.
“This has been the greatest week of my life,” added another rookie Latanna Stone, who stuffed her approach on the iconic 18th to seal her singles victory against Charlotte Heath.
Emily Price was the only player on the GB&I team to win her singles match.
Rachel Kuehne clinches ... again
Team USA players Rose Zhang, left, and Rachel Kuehn hold American flags after winning their matches during Singles Matches at the 2022 Curtis Cup at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. on Sunday, June 12, 2022. (Chris Keane/USGA)
Rachel Kuehn used to worry about trying to get out of her mother’s shadow. After all, mom Brenda was a star at Wake Forest and clinched the Curtis Cup for Team USA in 1998.
Rachel Kuehn, a rising senior at Wake Forest, has officially outdone mom. After clinching the Cup for the U.S. last year in Wales, Kuehn did it again at Merion, defeating Caley McGinty, 2 and 1. Rose Zhang nabbed the first point for the Americans on Sunday.
“I am in her shadow now,” said a beaming Brenda, who noted that her middle child must always outdo her.
Rachel plans to take a fifth-year at Wake Forest (her COVID-19 year) to work on a graduate degree, which means she could potentially compete in the 2024 Curtis Cup.
What could possibly top this? Perhaps she could play for mom.
Amari Avery impresses
USA team member Amari Avery hits a drive during a practice round at the 2022 Curtis Cup at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (Chris Keane/USGA)
It wasn’t all that long ago that Amari Avery thought she might turn professional. Instead, she enrolled at USC a semester early and went on a tear, winning three times en route to making her first Curtis Cup team. The powerful Avery went 4-1-0 in her debut.
“To think that I would have potentially passed this up and not gotten this experience, “ said Avery. “I don’t know what I’d do. I mean, because I’ve always wanted to turn pro, and that’s been my dream for forever. But I don’t see the point in rushing to get out there. I think it’ll always be there.
“But this won’t. This goes away at some point, and I was always going to be amateur. Getting experience like this especially with some of my closest friends is truly cool.”
More Merion, please
A view of the Curtis Cup trophy and the iconic clubhouse before the start of the Four-Ball Matches at the 2022 Curtis Cup at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. on Saturday, June 11, 2022. (Chris Keane/USGA)
Merion holds the record for most USGA championships hosted by a club. The first was the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1904. The Curtis Cup was held at the historic club for a second time this week, giving Merion now 20 USGA championships.
Next up: the 2026 U.S. Amateur and 2030 U.S. Open. Future women’s championships include the 2034 and 2046 U.S. Women’s Opens.
“There’s just so much history here,” said Rachel Kuehn, “and you watch the U.S. Open on TV and you watch footage of shots being hit here and the stories that our caddies have for us, just to know that we’re going to be able to add our names to that little piece of history at this incredible golf course and just an incredible tournament. I think it’s something really special and I think we all appreciate it.”
Growing the game with time and glitter
Team USA player Rachel Kuehn signs an autograph for fans during Singles Matches at the 2022 Curtis Cup at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. on Sunday, June 12, 2022. (Chris Keane/USGA)
Rachel Heck made it a point to put glitter on the face of every young fan she could find while she sat out at Saturday morning four-balls. Heck always has time for youngsters at events.
While she didn’t meet any LPGA stars as a young girl, Heck does remember playing a round at a par-3 course in Memphis with a young pro named Haley Millsap and thinking it was “the coolest thing in the whole world.”
“So of course playing on this stage, I know I’m just an amateur,” said Heck. “I know I’m a college student, but to these little girls, they look up to us so much and I remember what that felt like. So it’s our job to inspire them to provide an example to them because they don’t really know who we are. They see us playing and we have to do what we can with this opportunity.”
Next up: Sunningdale
Karen Stupples waves to the gallery on the way to winning the 2004 Weetabix Women’s British Open at the Sunningdale Golf Club. (Photo by Pete Fontaine/WireImage)
The Curtis Cup heads next to Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire, England, site of Karen Stupples’ 2004 Women’s British Open victory, where she started her final round eagle, double eagle.
Stupples, a two-time Curtis Cup participant, would seem to be the perfect choice to captain Great Britain and Ireland in 2024. The only catch: R&A rules stipulate that only amateurs can captain the team.
Seems like a good time to make a change.
The U.S. also has a tradition of only allowing amateurs to captain the Curtis Cup, but given how few mid-amateurs make the team these days, eventually they’re going to run into a shortage of options. Not to mention how fun and impactful it would be for young players to be around the likes of Michelle Wie West, Paula Creamer and Angela Stanford down the road.
2024: Sunningdale Golf Club, Berkshire, England/Dates TBD
2026: Bel-Air Country Club, Los Angeles, California/June 12-14
2030: National Golf Links of America, South Hampton, New York/June 7-9
2038: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon, Oregon/Dates TBD