Europeans rally past USA to capture Curtis Cup for first time in 16 years

Great Britain and Ireland captured five singles matches on Sunday to win the 2012 Curtis Cup Match, conducted at The Nairn Golf Club in Nairn, Scotland. It is GB&I’s first title since 1996 and only its seventh in Match history.

Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif., was one of three Americans to win her singles match at the Curtis Cup. (Copyright USGA / Matthew Harris)

“It was certainly not the result I was looking for,” said USA Captain Pat Cornett. “So I am a little disappointed, but then the result is good for the game and good for the Curtis Cup.”

The winning point came courtesy of Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow, 20, who defeated Amy Anderson, 19, of Oxbow, N.D., by a 4 & 2 margin.

Meadow, a member of the University of Alabama’s golf team, twice built a 2-up lead over Anderson, the 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion. But Anderson cut the deficit with a clutch 2-foot birdie at the par-4 12th.

“At that point, I thought things were going to turn our way,” said Anderson. “I hit a great drive at 13, but I got a funky lie. Somehow I hit the 5-wood fat, and it just sprayed off to the right in about the worst spot you could be.”

Anderson ended up in a pot bunker just short of the green, and conceded the hole, falling to 2 down. Meadow’s birdie at the par-3 15th put the victory within her grasp, and Anderson’s wayward tee shot at the 16th ultimately gave the trophy to GB&I.

“I knew all along that it would come down to my match,” said Meadow, who has five career victories for the Crimson Tide. “I was watching the boards. I knew how the first four matches had gone so I knew what I had to do.”

GB&I won the opening three singles matches, including come-from-behind victories from Kelly Tidy, 20, of England, and Amy Boulden, 18, of Wales.

“I’m exceptionally proud of the team. They’re the ones who pulled it through,” said GB&I Captain Tegwen Matthews, the first victorious GB&I captain since Ita Butler in 1996.

The morning had started strong for the Americans, with Austin Ernst, 19, of Seneca, S.C., and Emily Tubert, 20, of Burbank, Calif., building 2-up leads by the fifth hole over Tidy and Boulden, respectively.

“I wanted to set the pace and at the beginning of the match I was pretty much doing that,” said Ernst, who extended her lead over Tidy to 3 up through six. “I played flawless golf pretty much for the first six holes.”

But the tide quickly turned in favor of GB&I. Tidy knocked in a 25-foot birdie at the par-5 seventh to tighten the gap, and both players squared their matches with consecutive birdies at the ninth and 10th. Ernst and Tubert were never able to gain any advantage and fell by 2 & 1 and 3 & 1 margins, respectively.

“That [birdie] just got me going,” said Tidy, who finished with a 2-2 record. “It got me fired up and it let me know I could beat her. It’s just that one little putt that can get a roll going.”

“It looked like there was a lot of red and all square [on the leader board],” said Tubert, the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion. “And then all of a sudden I looked up and it was a different story.”

Lisa McCloskey, 20, of Houston, Texas, cruised to a 4 & 3 win over Pamela Pretswell, 23, of Scotland, and temporarily stopped the GB&I roll. But Holly Clyburn, 20, of England, tallied GB&I’s third point with a 3 & 2 victory over Erica Popson, 21, of Davenport, Fla.

McCloskey’s victory came as redemption following losses on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

“I guess I was a little bit riled up and wanted to show them that I could get one point on the board,” said McCloskey, the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links runner-up.

The USA’s other two victories came from 2010 veteran Tiffany Lua, who edged Bronte Law, 2 up, and Brooke Pancake, whose final amateur competition ended with a resounding 6 & 5 triumph over Ireland’s Leona Maguire.

England’s Charley Hull, fifth in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking, won her only point in the Match, taking a 5 & 3 victory over Lindy Duncan, 21, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

With the GB&I victory, all four major team golf trophies – the Ryder Cup, Solheim Cup, Walker Cup and Curtis Cup – reside with the Europeans.

– Courtesy Christina Lance, coordinator of championship communications for the USGA.


Nairn, Scotland – Results from Sunday’s singles matches at the 2012 Curtis Cup Match, conducted at the par-72, 6,313-yard The Nairn Golf Club:

Match One

Kelly Tidy, England (GB&I) def. Austin Ernst, Seneca, S.C. (USA), 2 and 1

Match Two

Amy Boulden, Wales (GB&I) def. Emily Tubert, Burbank, Calif. (USA), 3 and 1

Match Three

Holly Clyburn, England (GB&I) def. Erica Popson, Davenport, Fla. (USA), 3 and 2

Match Four

Lisa McCloskey, Houston, Texas (USA) def. Pamela Pretswell, Scotland (GB&I), 4 and 3

Match Five

Tiffany Lua, Rowland Heights, Calif. (USA) def. Bronte Law, England (GB&I), 2 up

Match Six

Charley Hull, England (GB&I) def. Lindy Duncan, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (USA), 5 and 3

Match Seven

Stephanie Meadow, Northern Ireland (GB&I) def. Amy Anderson, Oxbow, N.D. (USA), 4 and 2

Match Eight

Brooke Pancake, Chattanooga, Tenn. (USA) def. Leona Maguire, Ireland (GB&I), 6 and 5

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