Golf: Curtis Cup goes back to America

GREAT BRITAIN and Ireland lost their grip on the Curtis Cup after the United States of America wrestled it away with a powerful performance at the Minikahda Club in Minnesota.

The Americans held a three-point advantage as the teams entered the final singles session yesterday, and they held on to reach their target of 91/2 points. The victory was the US amateurs' first since 1990, after Great Britain and Ireland enjoyed success in the 1996 event at Killarney.

The Americans needed only two points from the six singles matches to win the cup after going into the afternoon's encounters with seven-and- a-half.

The decisive point came from Brenda Corrie Kuehn, who defeated Becky Morgan 2 and 1 when Morgan missed a 10-foot birdie putt to keep the match alive. The other vital point was gained by Kellee Booth, who beat the British champion, Kim Rostron, by the same score.

The US team won the second session of foursomes 2-1 earlier in the day to leave them trailing by three points going into the singles session.

In the heat of Minnesota, the pairing of Morgan and Alison Rose were humbled 6 and 5 by the experienced Corrie Kuehn and Booth. The Britons won the opening hole when their opponents took three to get down from the back of the green but the Americans levelled matters at the fifth. It was one way traffic from then on.

Elaine Ratcliffe and Kim Rostron put up a brave fight against Virginia Grimes and Robin Burke but were always behind after losing the first hole and in the end went down by two and one.

Rebecca Hudson, 19, proving the success of the competition by scoring a remarkable win over the American Jenny Chuasiriporn on Saturday and was in outstanding form again in yesterday foursomes when she and Fiona Brown defeated Chuasiriporn and Beth Bauer.

The United States lead the Curtis Cup series by 21 wins to 6, with three matches drawn.

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