US takes commanding lead at Curtis Cup


2010 Curtis Cup

MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, Mass. – A day after a shaky start, the United States swept all six matches at the Curtis Cup on Saturday to take an 8 1/2-3 1/2 lead over Great Britain and Ireland.

Alexis Thompson, yet to lose a match, teamed with Jessica Korda to beat Danielle McVeigh and Leona Maguire 3 and 1 in the afternoon foursomes. The 15-year-old Thompson, expected to turn pro soon, consistently outdrove her opponents by 30 yards or more.

The visitors led all three afternoon matches early on the second day of the biennial competition at Essex County Club.

Americans Jennifer Song and Kimberly Kono birdied the 13th, 16th and 17th holes on the back nine to come from behind and beat Hannah Barwood and Holly Clyburn 3 and 1. Tiffany Lua and Jennifer Johnson won the 14th, 15th and 16th holes and beat Sally Watson and Rachel Jennings 3 and 2.

“I’m delighted with the way we played today,” said U.S. captain Noreen Mohler, who thought her squad played tentatively Friday. “The matches were tight and tough, but we were makings putts today and that’s what it came down to. I told the girls ‘the greens are our friends.”’

The Curtis Cup pits teams of eight female amateur golfers from the United States against a team from Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. has won six straight matches and needs to total 10 points to retain the cup.

The matchup concludes Sunday with eight singles matches.

All three U.S. teams came out strong in the morning fourballs. Thompson and Korda won the first three holes against McVeigh and Pretswell Pretswell in a 2 and 1 victory.

Kimberly Kim sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole as she and Kono edged Watson and Jennings 2 and 1. Both Watson and Jennings drove into the deep rough on the 18th, and Watson’s 10-foot putt lipped out after an amazing approach shot, clinching the win for the U.S.

Song had eight birdies on her own card in just 16 holes as she and Cydney Clanton had nine birdies in all while defeating 15-year-old twin sisters Lisa and Leona Maguire of Ireland 3 and 2.

“The standard of golf this morning was just unbelievable,” Great Britain and Ireland captain Mary McKenna said. “We just got hit with a birdie blitz. (The U.S.) had more birdies than we did.”