WILMINGTON, N.C. – There are plenty of great players from around the world here at the NCAA Women’s Championship. I spoke with a few who will be representing Team USA in the June 11-13 Curtis Cup at Essex County Club in Manchester, Mass.
Kimberly Kim, Denver: “I remember my last experience, and it was a great one. We had a real strong team, and everyone played really well. This team will be really talented, and I want to see what we all can do.
“If I could pick someone to be paired with, it would probably be Stephanie Kono. I think she has a really good short game, and that could help me out and make us a good team.”
Cydney Clanton, Auburn: “It’s an honor to be picked, and I’m looking forward to the practices more than anything. We have some great young talent, and they will be fun to watch. What makes Alexis (Thompson) so good is how confident she is at such a young age. (Jessica) Korda has a great swing, and that has helped her become a great golfer.
“If it were alternate shot, I would want to be with Stephanie Kono. She is one of the best putters I have ever seen, and distance off the tee wouldn’t be a problem for either of us. I think having the kind of distances to pins you would normally have is what you look for in a partner.”
Jennifer Song, USC: “It’s just an honor to have the American flag on my body. This will be my last amateur event, and I know it will be different from any team event I have ever done. Knowing that is coming up gets me more and more emotional (now) that my college and amateur career are almost over.
“I have seen Kono a lot because of my time at USC. I think we would be a good team because she has a great short game. Also, when it comes to her swing, she gets into a serious mode, but after she hits she can get relaxed. I think it’s important to be able to be relaxed and not so intense or serious the whole time.”
Tiffany Lua, UCLA: “I have heard so much about the history and tradition of the Curtis Cup that I am looking to add my name to the tradition of it. We are going to be at a historical course, and I’m going to take it all in. I have spent a lot of time working on chipping and putting for the event, knowing that will be important.
“I know everyone on the team, so I think whoever I’m paired with will be good. I probably should be with someone who needs help with their short game. My favorite part of golf is chipping and putting. When I practice, I play games on my own, challenging myself and just get into my own world. I would rather chip and putt than stand on a range hitting ball after ball.”
Stephanie Kono, UCLA: “I have always loved being with my team and calling myself a Bruin. However, I’m looking forward to (the Curtis Cup) because I will be able to call other great college players my teammates. I love team experiences, and to be a part of a Team USA experience will be really special.
“Kimberly Kim wants to partner with me? I’m flattered so many people want to be paired with me, but Kim and I got pounded at the Junior Solheim together in 2007. I think we lost, 5 and 4 (to Europe’s Marta Silva and Florentyna Parker). I think if I were paired with Jennifer Song, we could play well. We have similar games, and she knows how to make a lot of birdies. When we play against each other in college, we are always talking to each other, and she is fun to play with.”
Jennifer Johnson, Arizona State: “I’m going to Curtis Cup practice straight from nationals to play in matches against members, which will be good to help learn the course. Also, it will be a great time to start bonding with my teammates and have some fun.
“In November 2009, I won the Spirit Invitational at Whispering Pines with Alexis Thompson. It was four days of 4-ball competition, and we won by seven shots over Korea. We did pretty good there, so maybe we could be good again at the Curtis Cup.”