US Takes Early Lead at Curtis Cup

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USGAST. ANDREWS, Scotland ' Amanda Blumenherst and Stacy Lewis each won two matches Friday to help the USA team take a 4-2 lead over the squad from the Great Britain and Ireland following the first day of play at the 2008 Curtis Cup Match, being played on the Old Course at St. Andrews.
 
In the morning foursomes (alternate shot), Blumenherst, of Scottsdale, Ariz., paired with Tiffany Joh of San Diego, Calif., for a nail-biting 1-up victory over Breanna Loucks and Florentyna Parker. Blumenherst and Joh held a 5-up lead after 12 holes but the GB&I duo rallied to cut the deficit to 1 down heading to the 18th green. After Joh missed her birdie attempt on No. 18, Parkers 6-footer for birdie slid by the hole, allowing the Americans to hold on for the narrow victory.
 
Lewis, of The Woodlands, Texas paired with Alison Walshe of Westford, Mass., for the USAs other foursomes victory Friday morning. Lewis and Walshe trailed 2 down to Elizabeth Bennett of England and Jodi Ewart of Scotland after five holes, but came back to earn a 3-and-1 victory for the USAs first point of the Match.
 
Blumenherst and Lewis then paired to earn the USAs final point of the day with a 3-and-1 victory over Bennett and Parker in the afternoons four-ball (better-ball) matches.
 
Its always nice to start off with two wins and help the team out a little bit, said Blumenherst, who was also a member of the victorious 2006 USA Curtis Cup team. Im also playing really well so its a good way to start the weekend.
 
The success of two of Americas most decorated collegiate players did not come as a surprise to USA Captain Carol Semple Thompson.
 
I did have very high expectations for both of them going into this, so Im not at all surprised that they played well, said Thompson, a 12-time Curtis Cupper for the USA. They teamed well together this afternoon to come back from three down.
 
Scotland teenager Sally Watson earned two points for the GB&I side, first pairing with fellow Scot Michele Thomson to earn a 1-up foursomes victory over Mina Harigae of Monterey, Calif., and Jennie Lee of Henderson, Nev. Watson then paired with Krystle Caithness, also of Scotland, to earn a 3-and-2 win over Joh and Meghan Bolger of Oakland Park, Fla., in the afternoons four-balls.
 
The two youngest American players, Harigae, 18, and 16-year-old Kimberly Kim of Hilo, Hawaii, earned the other USA four-balls point with a 3-and-2 victory over Thomson and Scotlands Carly Booth, at 15 the youngest player in the Match.
 
Harigae and Lee, who were 4 down to Watson and Thomson in the morning, rallied to close the deficit to one hole before losing on No. 18. Harigae said the comeback helped her in the afternoon match with Kim, the 2006 U.S. Womens Amateur champ.
 
It was a good momentum kind of thing, said Harigae, the reigning U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links champion. I felt really good and I was pumped because I started playing that back nine and then I just carried it on.
 
The teams will again play three foursomes and three four-ball matches Saturday. All eight players for each side will then play singles on Sunday. The USA needs nine points to retain the Curtis Cup, while GB&I needs 9 points to win the Cup back for the first time since the 1996 Match.
 
The Curtis Cup Match is a womens amateur team competition played every other year, with one squad from the USA and the other representing England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Wales.
 
Results of the first round of foursomes (alternate shot) and four-balls (best ball) at the 2008 Curtis Cup Match, played Friday at the par-72, 6,638-yard Old Course at St. Andrews.
 
Foursomes
Match 1

Stacy Lewis, The Woodlands, Texas, and Alison Walshe, Westford, Mass. (USA) def. Liz Bennett, Sway, England, and Jodi Ewart, Middleham, England (GB&I), 3 and 1
 
Match 2
Sally Watson, Elie, Scotland, and Michele Thomson, Ellon, Scotland (GB&I) def. Mina Harigae, Monterey, Calif., and Jennie Lee, Henderson, Nev. (USA), 1 up
 
Match 3
Amanda Blumenherst, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Tiffany Joh, San Diego, Calif. (USA) def. Breanne Loucks, Wrexham, Wales, and Florentyna Parker, Southport, England (GB&I), 1 up
 
Four-balls
Match 1

 
Kimberly Kim, Hilo, Hawaii, and Mina Harigae, Monterey, Calif. (USA) def. Carly Booth, Comrie, Scotland, and Michele Thomson, Ellon, Scotland (GB&I), 3 and 2
 
Match 2
Sally Watson, Elie, Scotland, and Krystle Caithness, Cellardyke, Scotland (GB&) def. Tiffany Joh, San Diego, Calif., and Meghan Bolger, Oakland Park, Fla. (USA), 3 and 2
 
Match 3
Amanda Blumenherst, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Stacy Lewis, The Woodlands, Texas (USA) def. Florentyna Parker, Southport, England, and Liz Bennett, Sway, England (GB&), 3 and 1
 
Pairings for the second round of foursomes (alternate-shot) matches to be played Saturday morning at the par-72, 6,638-yard Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland (times are EDT):
 
Foursomes
Match 1

 
3 a.m. ' Carly Booth, Comrie, Scotland, and Breanne Loucks, Wrexham, Wales (GB&I) vs. Kimberly Kim, Hilo, Hawaii and Jennie Lee, Henderson, Nev. (USA)
 
Match 2
3:12 a.m. ' Sally Watson, Elie, Scotland, and Krystle Caithness, Cellardyke, Scotland (GB&) vs. Alison Walshe, Westford, Mass., and Stacy Lewis, The Woodlands, Texas (USA)
 
Match 3
3:24 a.m. ' Liz Bennett, Sway, England and Jodi Ewart, Middleham, England (GB&) vs. Amanda Blumenherst, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Tiffany Joh, San Diego, Calif. (USA)