US Pumped for Curtis Cup

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FORMBY, England -- European and British teams hold the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup and Walker Cup. Now it's up to Michelle Wie and her teammates to keep the only cup the United States owns.
 
The competition gets underway Saturday at the Formby Golf Club in the Curtis Cup, a biennial amateur competition between teams from the United and Great Britain & Ireland.
 
'I can promise you that my eight players understand the significance,' U.S. captain Martha Kirouac said Friday. 'They know that the Curtis Cup is held by Americans and we intend that that Cup continues to be held by the Americans.'
 
GB&I captain Ada O'Sullivan said her team received a letter of encouragement from Sam Torrance, who guided Europe to a Ryder Cup win over the United States in 2002.
 
'We are missing one,' Torrance wrote. 'We have the Ryder, Solheim and Walker Cups. You know what you have to do, girls.'
 
With the 14-year-old Wie spearheading the team, the Americans are favored to win for a fifth consecutive time. They have 23 wins, six defeats and three draws since the competition began in 1932.
 
Wie, the youngest player ever to compete in the Curtis Cup, has twice contended for majors on the LPGA Tour and came within a shot of making the cut against the men on the PGA Tour.

'I'm really excited,' she said. 'It's so great to be playing for my country. I feel very proud of myself for making it this far.'
 
The American flag was flown at half staff at Friday's opening ceremony in honor of late President Ronald Reagan.
 
The two-day event between eight-women teams has three foursomes (alternate shot) matches and six singles matches each day.
 
Wie was paired with Brittany Lang against Anne Laing and Claire Coughland for the third of Saturday morning's alternate shot matches. Americans Paula Creamer and Jane Park will play Shelley McKevitt and Emma Duggleby in the first match, with U.S. pair Sarah Huarte and Anne Thurman facing Nicola Timmins and Danielle Masters in the second.
 
There were suggestions that Wie might sit out the first session, but Kirouac chose instead to rest Elizabeth Janangelo and Erica Blasberg.
 
'That was a gut-wrenching decision but I've got nothing less than 150 percent support,' Kirouac said. 'I have eight players who are all playing well. Everybody's positive and ready to go.'
 
The teams practiced Friday in the strongest winds of the week at the links course in northwest England. The GB&I team hopes it continues that way.
 
'The wind will be a huge factor for us,' O'Sullivan said. 'We need it to be windy, we don't want it to be calm. A lot of our players are links players.'
 
The young American team - five of them are teenagers and the oldest is 22-year-old Huarte - weren't concerned about windy conditions. But they did seem to experiment more with club selection Friday.
 
'I've played in weather like that,' Janangelo said. 'It takes some getting used to. But we can hit the little punch shots, keeping it low into the wind, that we need. ... We have the knockdown shots. Hopefully the wind will pick up and make for some interesting golf and some fun shots out there.'
 
The Americans practiced informally and independently Friday. Wie played with Janangelo and looked impressive as she holed a pitch shot at the ninth.
 
'The plan was to get the hard work done by Thursday afternoon so they could do what they wanted Friday,' Kirouac said. 'I think the chance to play in the higher wind today enticed some to go out and play a few holes in the wind.'
 
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Curtis Cup

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