GB&I score dramatic Curtis Cup victory

GBI Curtis Cup winners 2016 credit Natalie Jones

Great Britain and Ireland survived a fierce American fightback to claim a dramatic victory in the 39th Curtis Cup at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club, south of Dublin.

The home side started the singles with an 8-4 lead over the visitors and needed just 2½ points for victory. But they had to fight all the way to secure an 11½ – 8½ victory after the battling Americans edged the singles by 4½ – 3½.

Leona Maguire put the first GB&I point on the board and was followed home by Olivia Mehaffey, who halved her game. Just one more point was required – but the pressure was on after the Americans took 3½ points from the first five games.

The attention focussed on the last three games, featuring England’s Meghan MacLaren and Bronte Law and Ireland’s Maria Dunne.

It fell to MacLaren to deliver the victory when she carded a five on the long 17th to beat Bethany Wu 2 & 1.

“That’s a moment I will always remember,” said MacLaren. “I wasn’t sure what was going on at one point but then it became pretty clear how close it was. I was confident Bronte would bring home her point so I just tried to relax and play my own game.”

Moments later Law created a major slice of history when she beat Mika Liu by two holes to become the first GB&I player to win all five of her matches at a Curtis Cup. That feat had previously been achieved just once before by American Stacy Lewis at St Andrews back in 2008 when the match was played over three days for the first time.

“It’s great to be the first GB&I to win five matches but that wasn’t the priority for me,” Law said.

“The priority was to play as well as I could for the team. I think the reason why we have the trophy right now is that we’ve some amazing team chemistry this week. Everyone has got on so well. Our golf has been amazing but the fact we got on so well made it so easy.

“This is the best team I’ve been on and that means more than what I’ve done on a personal basis. There’s friendships here that are going to last a lifetime and that’s the most important thing.”

Law was playing in her third Curtis Cup and has been in the winning side twice, following the GB&I victory at Nairn in 2012.

The victory marked just the eighth time GB & I has emerged victorious in a contest which was inaugurated all the way back in 1932 but it does mean they have now won twice in-a-row on home soil.

Image courtesy Natalie Jones


11 June 2016

GB&I need 2½ points for Curtis Cup glory?

Saturday is known as moving day and GB&I lived up to that today, winning five out of the six points on offer: two from the foursomes and all three of the fourballs.

The morning foursomes saw Leona Maguire and Charlotte Thomas take on Bethany Wu and Hannah O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan’s solid putting proved too good as the American pairing clinched a 1hole win. However, that was the end of the road for the American team today as GB&I powered through every other match to seal significant wins.

Maria Dunne and Meghan MacLaren proved their worth in the morning foursomes after a disappointing loss on 18 yesterday. They saw off talented Sierra Brooks and Andrea Lee on the home green as the final 10 foot putt was clinched by MacLaren, which was followed by a cheer echoed across the whole golf course from a more than supportive home crowd.

Olivia Mehaffey and Bronte Law faced long hitter Bailey Tardy and partner Monica Vaughn. The GB&I side got off to a slow start but didn’t let that stop them as they won hole after hole to seal the deal on the 16th, with a 3&2 win.

Mehaffey and Law were first out on the course in the afternoon and led from the front, going two up through two holes. A solid finish by the world number 8 and 4 respectively meant they secured a win on the 16th green, the second of the day for the strong pairing.

Following them were home favourite Dunne and good friend and partner this week MacLaren. MacLaren birdied the 5th, 6th and 7th holes, which took them to 3 up. They fell back to one up through 11 but classy birdies on 12, 13 and 16 from Dunne saw them close out the match.

The final match of the day was one to watch as world number three Leona Maguire and Charlotte Thomas paired up destroy the duo of O’Sullivan and Liu. Maguire went on a run of birdies on the 5th, 6th and 8th and slotted in an eagle on the par 5 7th, to see them five up through 9. They continued this run and closed out the match on the 14th with a 5&4 win.

If the GB&I team manage to clinch the 2½ points required of them tomorrow to win the coveted Curtis Cup trophy, they will surely look back on this afternoon as the significant point in the tournament. A pumped GB&I team did not falter and tomorrow’s singles matches will not be one to miss at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club.

Singles Draw
USA names first
10:00 Hannah O’Sullivan V Olivia Mehaffey
10:10 Bailey Tardy V Charlotte Thomas
10:20 Sierra Brooks V Leona Maguire
10:30 Monica Vaughn V Rochelle Morris
10:40 Andrea Lee V Alice Hewson
10:50 Mika Liu V Bronte Law
11:00 Bethany Wu V Meghan MacLaren
11:10 Mariel Galdiano V Maria Dunne

Results – Day 2 – 11 June

Morning Foursomes
GB&I 2 USA 1
Leona Maguire & Charlotte Thomas lost to Bethany Wu & Hannah O’Sullivan 1down
Meghan MacLaren & Maria Dunne beat Sierra Brooks & Andrea Lee 1up
Olivia Mehaffey & Bronte Law beat Bailey Tardy & Monica Vaughn 3&2

Afternoon Four Balls
GB&I 3 USA 0
Olivia Mehaffey & Bronte Law beat Monica Vaughn & Bethany Wu 3&2
Meghan MacLaren & Maria Dunne beat beat Bailey Tardy & Monica Vaughan 3&2
Leona Maguire & Charlotte Thomas beat Hannah O’Sullivan & Mika Liu 5&4


10 June 2016

GB&I and USA are level after first day of Curtis Cup

It’s all square after the first day of the 39th Curtis Cup at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in Ireland with GB&I and the USA tied 3-3.

World number 4 Bronte Law and world number 8 Olivia Mehaffey paired up for the morning foursomes and got GB&I off to a great start when they secured a 2&1 win over world number 1 Hannah O’Sullivan and Mariel Galdiano.

Charlotte Thomas and Leona Maguire powered through Andrea Lee and Mika Liu 4&2 to put another point on the board for the GB&I side.

The last match of the morning was a tight affair between Meghan MacLaren and  Maria Dunne. A huge following for this match meant cheers were heard all over the course when Dunne and MacLaren went 3up through 8 holes. A sturdy fight back from opponents Bailey Tardy and Monica Vaughn saw the teams approach the 18th all square. A tough chip for Dunne and a good two putt for the Americans were the deciding factors in what finished in a one-hole win for the American side. Elaine Farquharson-Black’s GB&I team took a 2-1 lead into the afternoon four balls.

GB&I stacked a fearsome pairing at the top with Maguire and Law teaming up for the first afternoon four ball. The world number 3 and 4 respectively didn’t falter at any point as they cruised to a 4&3 win over Sierra Brooks and Bethany Wu. They  attacked the pins on the undulating Dun Laoghaire greens and rolled in birdie putts, to make it look easy.

The second match saw a pumped Mehaffey and Thomas take to the course, unafraid of Hannah O’Sullivan and Mariel Galdiano. It was a tight affair all through the front 9, as every hole was halved. Mehaffey and Thomas took the lead on 10 before the USA won it back two holes later.

USA dominated from there, although it looked good for GB&I on the 16th after Thomas rolled in a 35 footer for birdie. However the world number 1 put a stop to any early celebrations as she followed Thomas in to the hole from 20 feet for a half. The 17th was halved in pars, while O’Sullivan showed her class on 18 and sank a raker for birdie, before Mehaffey even lined up her chance from 10 feet.

GB&I captain Elaine Farquharson-Black commented: “The standard of golf out there has been fantastic from both sides. There’s also a great atmosphere. It’s lovely to see so many spectators cheering on both sides and I expect we’ll get even more over the weekend.”

Day 2 Morning Foursomes
08:00 Leona Maguire & Charlotte Thomas V Bethany Wu & Hannah O’Sullivan
08:12 Maghan MacLaren & Maria Dunne V Sierra Brooks & Andrea Lee
08:24 Olivia Mehaffey & Bronte Law V Bailey Tardy & Monica Vaughn

Day 1 Results
GB&I 2 USA 1
Morning Foursomes
Bronte Law & Olivia Mehaffey beat Hannah O’Sullivan & Mariel Galdiano 2&1
Charlotte Thomas & Leona Maguire beat Andrea Lee & Mika Liu 4&2
Meghan MacLaren & Maria Dunne lost to Bailey Tardy & Monica Vaughn 1down

Afternoon Four Balls
GB&I 1 USA 2
Leona Maguire & Bronte Law beat Sierra Brooke & Bethany Wu 4&3
Charlotte Thomas & Olivia Mehaffey lost to Hannah O’Sullivan & Mariel Galdiano 1down
Alice Hewson & Meghan MacLaren lost to Bailey Tardy & Monica Vaughn 2&1

GB&I Team caption: Team Manager Helen Hewlett, Meghan MacLaren, Rochelle Morris, Alice Hewson, Maria Dunne, Bronte Law, Olivia Mehaffey, Charlotte Thomas, Leona Maguire and Team Captain Elaine Farquharson-Black.


10th June, 2016

Electric start as Curtis Cup gets underway

The 39th Curtis Cup gets underway at Dun Laoghaire, south of Dublin, this morning with five English players in the GB&I team of eight.

They are Bronte Law of Cheshire, Alice Hewson of Hertfordshire, Meghan MacLaren of Northamptonshire, Rochelle Morris of Yorkshire and Surrey-born Charlotte Thomas.

This will be Law’s third appearance in a Curtis Cup team, having made her debut in the winning side at Nairn in 2012; and a second consecutive appearance for Thomas. The team is completed by three Irish players: Leona Maguire, Olivia Mehaffey and Maria Dunne.

This morning’s first foursomes series promises to provide an electric start to a match in which the visiting team is defending the trophy and the home squad is battling to replicate their 2012 victory when the Curtis Cup was staged at Nairn.

In the top match world No. 4 Bronte Law and world No. 9 Olivia Mehaffey face world No. 1 Hannah O’Sullivan and world No. 6 Mariel Galdiano.

The second match pits world No. 2 Leona Maguire and world No. 41 Charlotte Thomas against Andrea Lee and Mika Liu. In the last match of the morning Maria Dunne and Meghan MacLaren face Bailey Tardy and Monica Vaughn.

The three foursomes will be followed by three fourball matches in the afternoon.

“We’re relaxed and ready to go,” said GB&I team captain Elaine Farquharson-Black who was part of the winning 1992 GB&I Curtis Cup team at Royal Liverpool and has recently captained GB & I at the most recent Astor Salver and Vagliano Trophy matches. “We’ve had ten great days both here and at Castle (Golf Club) and I think we’ve done all the preparation we need. It’s time to get started.

“I’ve been aiming for a happy team because a happy team is a relaxed team and when you’re relaxed that’s when you tend to play well. We’ve done a lot of work but the emphasis has been on keeping it nice and relaxed and I think we’ve managed that very well.

Caption (L:R):The GB&I team with their caddies. Captain Elaine Farquharson-Black, GB&I team members; Charlotte Thomas, Rochelle Morris, Alice Hewson, Meghan MacLaren, Leona Maguire, Olivia Mehaffey, Bronte Law, Maria Dunne and Manager Helen Hewlett.