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Wie Joins Youngest Ever Curtis Cup Team

USGAFAR HILLS, N.J. ' Michelle Wie of Honolulu, Hawaii, who at age 13 became the youngest winner of an 'adult' USGA championship when she captured the 2003 U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links, and two Duke University standouts headline the eight-woman amateur golf team selected to represent the United States of America at the 2004 Curtis Cup Match in England.
Wie becomes the youngest ever selected for a USA Curtis Cup team. Laura Baugh was 16 when she was named to the 1972 team. Wie, now 14, is joined by Duke teammates Elizabeth Janangelo, 20, of West Hartford, Conn., and Brittany Lang, 18, of McKinney, Texas. The USA team was selected by the USGA Womens Committee.
The other members of the squad that will compete June 12-13 against a team from Great Britain and Ireland at Formby Golf Club in Merseyside, England, are Erica Blasberg, 19, of Corona, Calif.; Paula Creamer, 17, of Pleasanton, Calif.; Sarah Huarte, 21, of Shingle Springs, Calif.; Jane Park, 17, of Beaumont, Calif.; and Annie Thurman, 21, of Highland, Utah. Its the first time that no mid-amateurs (players 25 and older) are included on the USA squad.
The team will be captained by Martha (Wilkinson) Kirouac, 55, of Norcross, Ga., who won the 1970 U.S. Womens Amateur and played in the 1970 and 1972 Curtis Cup Matches. Professionally, Kirouac is the director of course rating and member services for the Georgia State Golf Association.
The Curtis Cup Match, scheduled every other year, consists of 12 singles and six foursomes (alternate shot) matches. The USA team has won the last three matches, in 1998, 2000 and 2002. The USA also leads the series, begun in 1932, by a 23-6-3 margin.
Wie beat eventual U.S. Womens Amateur champion Virada Nirapathpongporn in the 36-hole final at the WAPL at Ocean Hammock Golf Club in Palm Coast, Fla. A ninth grader at Punahou School, she already has competed in nine LPGA-sanctioned tournaments and was in the final pairing of the final round at the 2003 Kraft Nabisco Championship where she placed ninth. At the age of 10, Wie became the youngest to ever qualify for a USGA womens amateur competition (WAPL). She also competed in two mens events in 2003 (missed cut in both) and received a sponsors exemption to play in the 2004 PGA Tour Sony Open in her hometown of Honolulu, where she missed the cut after 36 holes by one stroke.
In 2002, she advanced to the semifinals of the WAPL in Sunriver, Ore., and she reached the third round of match play at the 2003 U.S. Girls Junior in Fairfield, Conn. She also made the 36-hole cut at the 2003 Womens Open.
Janangelo, who is completing her sophomore season at Duke, has qualified for three Womens Opens (2000, 2002 and 2003). She tied for 30th at the 2003 Womens Open at Pumpkin Ridge (Ore.) Golf Club. At the 2002 Womens Amateur, she defeated stroke-play medalist Courtney Swaim in the first round before bowing out to eventual champion Becky Lucidi in the third round. She was a first-team All-American by vote of the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) last year and was the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year.
Huarte, a senior at California-Berkeley, recently won the 2004 South Atlantic Ladies Amateur. A two-time All-Pac-10 golfer, she advanced to the third round of match play at the 2003 Womens Amateur, where she lost to eventual champion Virada Nirapathpongporn. She is a past California Junior champion and California High School champion.
Lang, currently a freshman at Duke, captured both the Womens Western and North & South titles in 2003. She also represented the USA at the Junior Solheim Cup in 2002 and was an eight-time American Junior Golf Association winner. She hails from the same hometown as USGA champions Kelli and Hank Kuehne, and Hunter Mahan.
Blasberg, a sophomore at the University of Arizona, was the Pac-10 Conferences Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year for 2002-03. She closed her freshman year with nine consecutive top-10s (two wins and seven top-3s), including a tie for third at the NCAAs to earn first-team NCGA All-American honors. She was a quarterfinalist at the 2003 Womens Amateur and advanced to the third round of the 2002 Womens Amateur.
Creamer, a junior at the Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla., has already won 16 national-caliber junior competitions, including 11 on the American Junior Golf Association circuit. She was named the AJGA Player of the Year for 2003 and has twice competed on the USA Junior Solheim Cup team. She was a semifinalist at both the 2003 Girls Junior and Womens Amateur, and qualified for the 2003 Womens Open, where she missed the cut. She made the cut in two LPGA events in 2003. Most recently, she tied for second at the 2004 South Atlantic Ladies Amateur.
Park, also a high school junior, was the runner-up at the 2003 Womens Amateur and tied for 30th at the Womens Open. She won the AJGA Betsy Rawls Girls National and the Kathy Whitworth events in 2003 and was runner-up at the 2003 Rolex Girls Junior. Like Creamer, she has twice competed for the USA at the Junior Solheim Cup.
Thurman, a junior at Oklahoma State University, won the 2002 WAPL, becoming the first female from Utah to capture a USGA championship. She qualified for match play at the 2002 and 2003 Womens Amateur, and qualified for the 2003 Womens Open, but missed the cut. She earned honorable-mention NGCA All-American honors for 2002-03 and placed 19th at the NCAA Womens Championship.
Blasberg, Creamer, Janangelo, Park and Wie also have been offered exemptions into the LPGAs 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship in late March.
The alternates for the team, in rank order, are Leigh Anne Hardin, 21, of Martinsville, Ind., Ashley Knoll, 18, of The Woodlands, Texas, and Amber Marsh-Elliott, 34, of Jamestown, N.C.
Hardin played on the 2002 USA Curtis Cup squad and qualified for the 2003 U.S. Womens Open. Knoll, a freshman at Oklahoma State, advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2003 U.S. Womens Amateur. She also won the 2003 Thunderbird International Junior. Marsh-Elliott won the 2003 U.S. Womens Mid-Amateur.