Curtis Cup Day 1

GB&I make strong start in Wales

Curtis Cup 2021 R1

Day 2, Day 3

Curtis Cup 2021 R1 - GB&I make strong start in Wales
Hannah Darling and Annabell Fuller of GB&I celebrate their fourball win. Credit: The R&A

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


Great Britain and Ireland made a strong start on the opening day of the 41st Curtis Cup match at Conwy Golf Club in Wales taking a 4 ½ – 1 ½ lead over the USA.


Curtis Cup 2021 R1

“I’m just thrilled, thrilled with the result,” said Captain Elaine Ratcliffe. “Thrilled that they have played the golf that I know they can play. I loved the fact that they have had such a great time doing it.

“You don’t win the Curtis Cup on day one. We have got to continue that golf and continue that momentum because for sure the American team will come back.”


Curtis Cup 2021 R1

In calm and mostly warm conditions, the GB&I team made the most of their home advantage to win out in both the morning foursomes, by 2 ½ to a ½ and then the afternoon fourballs 2 – 1.

Showing a real determination to wrest the trophy back from the USA, who were dominant in the previous match at Quaker Ridge in 2018, the young GB&I team raced out of the traps to take an early grip on the match.


Curtis Cup 2021 R1

The English pairing of Annabell Fuller and Charlotte Heath set the tone for the day with a convincing 4&3 win over Rachel Kuehn and Emilia Migliaccio and their compatriots Emily Toy and Caley McGinty followed up with a 3&1 victory over Gina Kim and Brooke Matthews.

The top match was a closely fought affair. The world number one and two, Rose Zhang and Rachel Heck, took it down the last against the Scottish pairing of Louise Duncan and Hannah Darling with Zhang holing out for a half on the 18th. 

Curtis Cup 2021 R1 - GB&I make strong start in Wales
Rose Zhang (centre) celebrates with her teammates. Credit: The R&A

Curtis Cup 2021 R1

GB&I maintained their momentum in the afternoon fourballs as the USA struggled to fully find their stride. Darling, the youngest player on the GB&I team at the age of 18, was again in the lead pairing, this time with Fuller, and they played out a high quality contest with Heck and Migliaccio that featured 13 birdies between the four players and once again went down the last. Darling, the Girls’ Amateur champion, played an excellent approach to the right handside of the 18th green and holed a 12ft birdie putt which was enough for a one hole win when Heck failed to follow her in from 6ft.

“Fourball’s all about making birdies,” said Darling. “And we did that today. I think we were something like 6-under in total.

“Annabell and I are good friends and we played at Junior Solheim two years ago and played against Rachel and we lost on the last, so I felt like it was our time to get revenge and I said it that to Annabell coming down the last.

“It gives us huge confidence. Obviously we still need to go and just follow it up tomorrow and it’s not over until the end, I guess. But, yeah, it really helps and it gives us more momentum going into tomorrow which is always nice.”


Curtis Cup 2021 R1

At about the same time, Ireland’s Lauren Walsh combined with McGinty to see off the challenge of Kim and Jensen Castle by 2&1.

The final match of the day also went down the last. It looked to have swung the way of the USA when Zhang, the US Women’s Amateur champion, birdied the 15th and 16th but Annabel Wilson bounced back to win the 17th with a birdie four. Zhang found the fairway with her drive on the last but her approach found the rough to the left of the green. Although she took three to get down from there her par five was enough to seal the win and claim an important point for the USA.

“We really came in clutch coming into the last few holes,” said Zhang. “It was some really clutch birdies (15 and16) and it just worked out well in the end. We had the momentum and the last hole we were able to stay composed and at least try to get a good par in.

“Team USA always has high hopes and we always have really good team spirit so coming into tomorrow everyone’s going to try to work hard to play even better and we’ll make a good come back tomorrow.”

Curtis Cup 2021 R1

Thursday Fourballs
 
USA
 
VS
 
GB&I
1
Rachel Heck
Emilia Migliaccio
 
1 Hole
>
Hannah Darling
Annabell Fuller
2
Jensen Castle
Gina Kim
 
2&1
>
Lauren Walsh
Caley McGinty
3
Rose Zhang
Allisen Corpuz
<
1 Hole
 
Annabel Wilson
Emily Toy
Thursday Foursomes
1
Rachel Heck
Rose Zhang
 
Halved
 
Louise Duncan
Hannah Darling
2
Rachel Kuehn
Emilia Migliaccio
 
4&3
>
Annabell Fuller
Charlotte Heath
3
Gina Kim
Brooke Matthews
 
3&1
>
Caley McGinty
Emily Toy
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