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Friday, May 30, 2008



United States took a 2-1 lead at the end of a morning of fluctuating
fortunes and late drama in the opening session of foursomes in the 35th
Curtis Cup contest.
On a dreich, misty and wet morning over the Old Course, St Andrews,
Great Britain & Ireland's heroines were 16-year-old Sally Watson from
Edinburgh and 20-year-old Scottish women's champion Michele Thomson
from Ellon, near Aberdeen.
They won the No 2 tie by one hole against Mina Harigae and Jennie Lee
after surging into a four-hole lead after only seven holes.
Their win cancelled out a 3 and 1 victory for the United States' Stacy
Lewis and Irish-born Alison Walshe over the all-England pairing of Liz
Bennett and Jodi Ewart in the lead-off tie.
Bennett and Ewart were two up after five holes but the Americans took a
grip on the match when they won the ninth with a par to get back on
level terms and then birdied the 11th and 12th to go two up.
Watson and Thomson matched the par of 36 on the outward half in the
miserable conditions and that was good enough to put them into a
four-hole lead. But Harigae and Lee began a recovery with a birdie 2 at
the 11th and when the Scots bogeyed the 13th, their lead had been cut
to two holes.
They did birdie the long 14th to go three up with four holes to play
but the Americans would not be subdued.
They won the 16th and 17th with par figures as Watson and Thomson
wobbled and there was a crisis point for the Scots as they sought to
defend a one-hole advantage down the 18th.
Thomson's drive landed on the tarmac road that bisects the 18th and
first fairways. It is an integral part of the course and the players
get no relief.
Watson made good contact with her approach shot but still left her
partner with an uphill putt of some 25ft.
Thomson then was short with her putt for a clinching birdie but Sally
Watson courageously rammed home a four-footer to halve the hole in par
4s and gave the Scots a one-hole win.
American's No college player, Amanda Blumenherst, and Tiffany Joh
showed their class with the best scoring of the morning three under
par 33 for the outward half. That put them four up and in the driving
seat against Breanne Loucks and Florentyna Parker.
That lead was stretched to five holes when the Welsh-English pair
bogeyed the short 11th but that was as good as it got for the
Americans. Loucks and Parker gritted their teeth and chipped away at
their big deficit. They won back the 13th with a birdie and the 14th
with a par.
They continued their fightback with a birdie 3 at the 16th and,
amazingly, were only one down with one to play when they won the Road
Hole 17th with a creditable par 4.
Having climbed back up the ladder so far, it was a tragedy that Loucks
and Parker were not quite able to finish off the job against their
talented opponents. Loucks played a great second shot at the last to
within three feet of the pin.
Parker's putt which would have squared the tie and also the contest
overall stayed above ground and Blumenherst and Joh were let
off the hook to win by one hole.

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