Kristen Gillman helps US open big lead in Curtis Cup
SCARSDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Kristen Gillman won two more matches and the United States opened a 9-3 lead over Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup at Quaker Ridge.
Gillman, the 20-year-old University of Alabama star from Austin, Texas, improved to 4-0 and helped the Americans move within 1 1/2 points of regaining the cup they lost in 2016 at Dun Laoghaire in Ireland. The U.S. leads the series 28-8-3.
“I just keep reminding them: Stay focused, one shot at a time, stay in the moment and be patient on the greens,” U.S/ captain Virginia Derby Grimes said. “Out here that is what it is all about. ... We’re going to stay motivated. It’s not over until it’s over. Just go out there and play their games and enjoy the walk. It’s the same message. We’re not going to change anything.”
The United States won five of the six matches Saturday, sweeping the morning four-ball session. Gillman and Jennifer Kupcho got it started by beating Olivia Mehaffey and Sophie Lamb 3 and 2 in the opening match. Lilia Vu and Mariel Galdiano edged Alice Hewson and Annabell Fuller 2 and 1, and 15-year-old Lucy Li and Andrea Lee topped Lily May Humphreys and Shannon McWilliam 3 and 2.
In the afternoon foursomes, Gillman and Crimson Tide teammate Lauren Stephenson routed Annabell Fuller and India Clyburn 6 and 5; Li and Sophia Schubert beat Paula Grant and Shannon McWilliam 7 and 5; and Mehaffey and Lamb defeated Kupcho and Lilia Vu 2 and 1.
“Today was a really great day,” Stephenson said. “Probably even better than we expected. Every single person played really well from morning to afternoon. We all fought really hard and it’s really fun to be able to be so excited for each other.”
Gillman, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, will face Annabell Fuller in singles with a chance to join American Stacy Lewis (2008) and England’s Bronte Law (2016) as the only players to go 5-0-0 since the format was changed to three days a decade ago.
Britain and Ireland captain Elaine Farquharson-Black held out hope for the eight singles matches.
“We can still do it,” Farquharson-Black said.” Every single one of them can beat every single one of the Americans, and we’ve got to believe that, and we’ve got to go out fighting. We’ve got to win from the top. Everybody contributing and making that point and taking it right down to the last match.”