Taylor Leon, who finished with three victories and a tie for the American Curtis Cup team, is a contradiction.
The sophomore-to-be at the University of Georgia has a beautiful smile off the course. On the course, however, she is a stern-faced model of concentration, rarely smiling. The longtime disciple of instructor David Leadbetter is dutifully well-disciplined in her approach to the game.
That discipline paid off handsomely in her second-day singles match against Naomi Edwards of Great Britain and Ireland. Leon was 2 down after four holes, but then won seven holes in a row to go 5 up.
“I was a little nervous at the beginning, but the momentum kind of went my way,” Leon said. “The putts started to drop, and I was just getting on a roll. I was excited that I was up as much as I was.”
On holes 8-11, Leon registered three birdies and one par.
“When I get down, it usually gives me kind of a kick and then I kind of get started,” she said.
Said U.S. captain Carol Semple Thompson: “Taylor was hitting the ball very, very well. I never had any doubts about her ability.”
Another contradiction: Leon learned to play golf in windy Texas, but quickly became a high-ball hitter and never concentrated on developing a punch shot.
Heading into the Curtis Cup, though, she diligently practiced shots that would serve her well in Oregon’s coastal wind. Surprisingly, because the wind didn’t blow with much intensity during the two-day event, she didn’t need the new weapons in her arsenal.
“I had fun,” Leon reflected. “It was great to be part of this team.”
On finishing the Curtis Cup with an undefeated record, she said, “It’s awesome. I hadn’t really thought about it until I finished, and then I realized that Jane (Park) and I had won all of our matches. Well, we tied one. It’s awesome that I got to play with Jane, and we had a lot of fun together. Knowing that we were such a big part of winning the Cup, that’s awesome.”
There appears to be a word for a player who earns all those points and makes all those birdies: awesome.