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American Women Try to Regain Curtis Cup

June 20, 1996

KILLARNEY, Ireland (AP) _ American women will try this weekend to do what American men couldn’t all of last year _ win one of golf’s major cups.

America’s best amateur women begin the biennial Curtis Cup on Friday in southwest Ireland against the combined Britain and Ireland team.

As with the Ryder and Walker cups, which the Americans lost last year, the United States used to win this match-play event almost automatically. But not now.

The Americans hold a 20-5 advantage, with three of 28 matches having ended in ties in an event first played in 1932. But the United States has won only one of the last five (1990) and hasn’t won at an away venue since 1984.

Two years ago in Chattanooga, Tenn., the combined Britain-Ireland team held on to the cup it won in 1992 when Janice Moodie beat Carol Semple Thompson on the final green for a 9-9 draw.

``There is great determination to get the cup back,″ said U.S. team captain Martha Lang. ``We would like to see it back on the other side. It seems like it’s time to take it back. I don’t want to be the captain that loses again.″

The fourth of the major cups _ the Solheim Cup for professional women _ will be played in September in Chepstow, Wales, with the Americans the defending champions.

The Britain-Ireland team is led by Julie Hall, who is playing in her fifth and final Curtis Cup and has been on all three recent winning teams.

The Britain-Ireland team also has two Scots who are among the best players in U.S. college golf _ Moodie at San Jose State and Mhairi McKay at Stanford _ and several others who have played for U.S. colleges.

``We’ve been here nearly a week now,″ Moodie said. ``I think it’s fair to say we want to get the show on the road.″

The Americans will try a mix of young and not-so-young to win back the cup. In Friday morning’s foursomes, two of the three U.S. pairs offer that mix.

``I’m going to go and combine youth and experience,″ Lang said. ``There are three players ages 18, 19 and 20 that I’ve put with players who’ve played the Curtis Cup before.″

In Friday’s foursomes, the U.S. pair of 18-year-old Kelli Kuehne and veteran Ellen Port will face Hall and Lisa Educate. The second U.S. team features Marla Jemsek and Brenda Corrie-Kuehn against Alison Rose and Lisa Dermott.

The final pair will have Cristie Kerr, 18, and Thompson, 47, against Moodie and McKay.

Semple Thompson will be playing her final and American-record ninth Curtis Cup, beating the record eight previously held by Anne Sander. She also ties the record nine by Mary McKenna of the Britain-Ireland team. Semple Thompson already holds the Curtis Cup record for match wins at 15.

Friday’s foursomes will followed by six afternoon singles matches, with the same format for Saturday’s final day. There are 18 points up for grabs. The Americans need 9 1/2 to win back the cup and Britain and Ireland can retain with 9 and a draw.

The 6,258-yard Killeen course at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club may help the Americans. It’s relatively flat with narrow fairways and not too much rough. Temperatures are also expected to be unseasonably warm, perhaps as high as 80 degrees.

``This is more of a parkland course, which is more akin to the course we are familiar with ... as against a links course,″ Lang said. ``From that point of view, our players are probably more comfortable.″

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