USA overpowering on Day 2 of Curtis Cup
MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, Mass. – The 36th Curtis Cup shifted from surprise party to snoozefest in less than 12 hours. Team USA swept all six matches Saturday to take a commanding five-point lead over Great Britain & Ireland. The Americans need only two points to win the Cup a seventh consecutive time.
“The standard of golf was absolutely phenomenal,” GB&I captain Mary McKenna said.
Today, her team didn’t measure up.
Curtis Cup: Saturday at Essex County Club
Team USA took a five-point lead during Day 2 of the Curtis Cup, winning all six matches at Essex County Club in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.
The two U.S. players who plan to turn professional next week showed their worth Saturday morning with an impressive barrage of birdies. Jennifer Song poured in nine birdies in her foursomes match with Cydney Clanton, while Alexis Thompson carried Jessica Korda with six of her own. They sparked a surge that carried over into the afternoon, giving U.S. captain Noreen Mohler reason to smile on a soggy day outside Boston.
“I think spectators got their money’s worth today,” she said.
With her team trailing by one point after the opening day, USA supporters couldn’t help but wonder what Mohler said to her team Friday evening. Turns out “absolutely nothing.”
“They motivate themselves,” Mohler said. “They don’t need me to do that. I just make sure they’re fed.”
U.S. players insisted they weren’t overly concerned or nervous about their position heading into Saturday. In fact, Song said Mohler probably felt the most pressure.
“Obviously (the U.S.) has six wins and she doesn’t want to be that one captain who got the loss,” Song said. “I think she felt a little pressure, but we told her that we were going to take care of her.”
Song nonchalantly threw in more trash talk – if one can even call it that – into an interview following her afternoon match.
“We’re going to have no mercy with them,” she said, “just play our game.”
The overly mature Song throws these comments into her answers without changing her tone in the least. She might as well be telling reporters she’s going to the grocery store after the interview. Still, it speaks to where her mind is entering Sunday’s singles competition.
Curtis Cup: Recap of USA’s Day 2 rally
England’s Rachel Jennings, 21, didn’t even realize she and partner Sally Watson had lost three consecutive holes on the back nine (14-16) until a reporter pointed it out. She looked rather stunned in the interview room, saying they played “good foursomes golf.” They were simply outclassed.
“The scoreboard says we can still win and we won’t give up fighting until that final putt is dropped,” she said.
Both captains frontloaded their Sunday singles lineups, with Song facing Danielle McVeigh in the first match. McVeigh came up short in both her matches but displayed another solid day of putting. Thompson, who is 3-0-1, will square off against Sally Watson, the only veteran on GB&I’s team and a sophomore at Stanford.
As the last match came to the 18th green Saturday morning, Golf Channel cameras framed a shot of the green with the ponytails of good friends Korda and Thompson. Their blonde braids were nearly identical, laced with red, white and blue ribbons. The two school girls, victorious in both their matches, represent a great shift in the modern game. Teenager superstars have become the norm. They communicate in giggles and birdies and plaster their cheeks with fake tattoos.
Those who questioned Team USA’s lack of experience after Day 1 were quickly silenced. Between Junior Solheim Cups, Ryder Cups and Canon Cups, these players’ cups overfloweth with experience.
When Thompson was asked who supplied the tattoos this week, she noted they were leftover from her Junior Solheim Cup supply. At 15, it’s hard to find something in amateur golf she hasn’t done.
Perhaps that’s why she’s moving on.