Rose blooms in Curtis triumph

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The Independent Online
"Flower of Scotland" has not been heard in victory for a while, but a spontaneous rendition in Killarney yesterday accompanied Alison Rose's six-and-five victory against Ellen Port. With that point, Great Britain and Ireland had retained the Curtis Cup and the three Scots on the team had much to do with a final victory of 111/2-61/2 over the United States.

Rose, a 28-year-old banker from Stirling with no intention of joining the professional ranks, completed her second foursomes win with Lisa Dermott in the morning, then became only the second player, after Trish Johnson in 1986, to win four matches out of four. She was six up at the turn against Port thanks to five birdies - three of them in a row from the seventh.

Though Elaine Ratcliffe first went dormie five up on Sarah Lebrun Ingram, before eventually recording a three-and-one win, Rose was the first to put a point on the board. Ita Butler, the Great Britain and Ireland captain, said: "I'm delighted Alison sank the winning putt. It was a great team effort, but they would all agree Alison was the star of the week." Rose herself said: "It's been a fabulous week. To win four out of four was beyond my wildest dreams."

Great Britain and Ireland have now lost only once in their last six matches, dating back to 1986, an impressive response to the Americans' unbeaten 13-match sequence between 1960 and 1984. The victory keeps alive the possibility of all four major transatlantic trophies residing over here should Europe's women professionals win back the Solheim Cup at St Pierre in September.

The men's Ryder and Walker Cups were regained last year. While the former brought in the continent of Europe, and there have been calls for a similar move in the latter, in Killarney the talk was of the US team expanding to include all the Americas to make the Curtis Cup an even contest.

The celebrations could have begun as early as lunchtime had the host team, who required three points at the start of the day to retain the Cup, completed a sweep of the morning foursomes. They were thwarted by the US women's amateur champion, Kelli Kuehne, who pitched in at the 16th, and Port, who fought back from two down with five to play against Julie Hall, who retired last night from top-level competition, and Lisa Educate to win at the last.

Surprisingly, Kuehne was held back until the last singles, when the match was over. She lost to another Scot, Janice Moodie, who won 31/2 points out of four to add to the three out of four of compatriot Mhairi McKay.

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