If history is anything to go by then Great Britain & Ireland can kiss another Curtis Cup goodbye.
The United States leads 4-2 after the first day’s play. U.S. teams don’t normally lose Curtis Cups after leading the first day. In fact, it’s only ever happened once. In 1956 they led after day one and went on to lose the match 5-4 at Prince’s Golf Club in England.
Aside from that, it’s been a near perfect record of turning leads into victories. These stats won’t thrill GB&I fans. Of the 24 times the U.S. has led after the opening day, they have won 22 times with one halved match. The tie came in 1994 at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In other words, the home team has its work cut out. However, the deficit is not as bad as it could have been. After losing the opening foursomes session 3-0, GB&I at one point trailed all three afternoon four-ball sessions.
How bad was it?
“I was probably slitting my wrists at that point,” GB&I captain Tegwen Matthews said. “It was very dismal in the afternoon. I had to keep telling myself that my girls would dig in.”
They did just that. Impressive fight backs from Kelly Tidy and Holly Clyburn, and Amy Boulden and Bronte Law stopped a 6-0 whitewash. Tidy and Clyburn came back from one down after nine to defeat Brooke Pancake and Erica Popson 2&1. Boulden and Law staged an even better comeback. They were two down after seven against Lindy Duncan and Lisa McCloskey and won 3&2.
“That was massive for their (the GB&I team’s) confidence,” Matthews said. “It means they can start tomorrow on an up. That’s the message tonight. That we start tomorrow the same way we ended this afternoon.”
Amy Anderson and Emily Tubert were the only US pairing to earn a point in the afternoon. Anderson led the U.S. team on the opening day with two points out of two. She teamed up with Tiffany Lua in the morning foursomes to win 2&1 over Clyburn and Law. Then she paired with Tubert to defeat world number five Charley Hull and Scotland’s sole Curtis Cupper Pamela Pretswell 4&3.
It turned out to be a key victory for the U.S. team.
“We just wanted to keep the momentum going,” Anderson said. “Obviously we played so well in the morning and we didn’t want to see that go to waste.”
Anderson grew up in South Dakota, 4,000 or so miles from links golf, but she looked as if she was a local the way she chipped and putted around the Nairn links.
“I’m used to playing in wind in North Dakota, but it’s not like this,” she said. “It’s harder here, firmer. It’s my first time playing links golf. I’ve really been working on bump and run shots. Coming here early this week we played a ton of shots. I’m not used to playing shots where I land the ball short of the green, but here the ground is so hard that you have to learn to land it short and let it roll out.”
U.S. captain Pat Cornett won’t have to worry about Anderson when she returns to the match after breaking her right ankle. Cornett was in a freak accident involving the grandstand by the first tee and missed the afternoon play. Maybe that’s why her girls trailed off.
As for Matthews, she needs to gee her troops up. She needs to send her players out with the same message she gave them at lunch today. “I asked each and every one of them to look at their mistakes and learn from them,” Matthews said.
The GB&I team did that pretty well, but need to do it even better tomorrow. They can’t afford to lag too far behind the US.
History is not on GB&I’s side.
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Saturday’s Foursomes Draw
8:00 a.m. (local time): Amy Anderson & Tiffany Lua vs. Pamela Pretswell & Charley Hull
8:12 a.m.: Austin Ernst & Brooke Pancake vs. Holly Clyburn & Amy Boulden
8:24 a.m.: Lindy Duncan & Lisa McCloskey vs. Stephanie Meadow & Leona Maguire