MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, Mass. – Talk about the cream rising to the top . . .
It has happened with twice the energy for the Americans, as they swept the morning four-ball to regain the lead in the Curtis Cup at Essex County Club, 5 1/2 – 3 1/2 over Great Britain & Ireland.
Off in the first group, Alexis Thompson opened with three straight birdies, made six in all, and carried teammate Jessica Korda to a 2-and-1 win over Danielle McVeigh and Pamela Prestwell.
Not to be outdone, last year’s two-time USGA champion, Jennifer Song, buried nine birdies of her own – much to the joy of teammate Cydney Clanton – in a 3-and-2 triumph over the Maguire sisters, Leona and Lisa.
Those electric performances aside, it was a 10-foot birdie putt by Stephanie Kono at the 17th hole that assured the Americans of their lead. In the morning’s closest match, Kono and Kimberly Kim – a pair of competitors from Hawaii – edged Sally Watson and Rachel Jennings, 2 up.
Having fallen behind early, Kono and Kim pulled ahead, squandered that lead, then pulled even when Kim birdied the 15th. Two holes later, Kono drained her birdie, Jennings missed from 8 feet, and that set up some final-hole dramatics.
Both GB&I players pulled tee shots into thick, wet grass, while Kono and Kim were in the fairway. Jennings never did find her ball, so she was out of the hole, leaving Watson on her own. She handled it well, almost perfectly, in fact, but after hitting a magnificent 7-iron recovery shot to 10 feet, Watson rolled a birdie putt that led her to pump her right fist . . . only the ball hit the left lip and spit out.
With the Americans conceded their birdie putt, the morning sweep was in the books.
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Results from the second day of the Curtis Cup, played June 12 at the par-70, 6,247-yard Essex County Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.:
Match 1: Alexis Thompson and Jessica Korda (USA) def. Danielle McVeigh and Pamela Pretswell (GB&I), 2 and 1
Match 2: Jennifer Song and Cydney Clanton (USA) def. Leona Maguire and Lisa Maguire (GB&I), 3 and 2
Match 3: Kimberly Kim and Stephanie Kono (USA) def. Sally Watson and Rachel Jennings (GB&I), 2 up
Match 1: Sally Watson and Rachel Jennings (GB&I) halved with Jennifer Song and Jennifer Johnson (USA)
Match 2: Hannah Barwood and Holly Clyburn (GB&I) halved with Alexis Thompson and Jessica Korda (USA)
Match 3: Danielle McVeigh and Leona Maguire (GB&I) halved with Cydney Clanton and Stephanie Kono (USA)
Match 1: Danielle McVeigh and Pamela Pretswell (GB&I) def. Jennifer Song and Kimberly Kim (USA), 4 and 3
Match 2: Alexis Thompson and Jennifer Johnson (USA) def. Rachel Jennings and Leona Maguire (GB&I), 3 and 2
Match 3: Sally Watson and Lisa Maguire (GB&I) def. Jessica Korda and Tiffany Lua (USA), 1 up