against a backdrop of the 1851 clubhouse and nestled in-between Formby’s sand dunes, the 33rd Curtis Cup started, as the heavens, opened on evening of Friday 11 June. Thankfully after a shaky
gray start to Saturday morning, as play started, the weather improved, turning into a blistering hot day by late afternoon. On the Saturday, crowds roamed around the 74 par 7024m course. Next day promise of good weather brought in
even bigger crowds. The event was well covered in the UK and in Ireland also over the pond in the USA. Surprisingly, on Saturday morning, American star golfer Michelle Wie, and her team mate Brittany, were given a taste of just how to play golf, by Anne Laing and Claire Coughlan. Sadly, despite a promising start when GB & I won the morning’s foursomes by a point, the afternoon was to prove to be slightly harder and spelled out what was to come.
Sunday opened with fantastic weather and blue sky as far as the eye could see. Despite developing a small lead in the morning, team GB & I lost momentum and although things were neck and neck for the first half of the afternoon, they then left the way open for the Americans to claim the cup. USA captain Martha Kirouac, in the lunchtime media briefing, on Sunday, told reporters,
"We tried to change the line up a bit this morning. Just to get a different perspective on things. I think GB & I team played really well. That’s the bottom line. They outplayed us in two of the matches and there were some very good numbers this morning. I think lot of people saw some really good golf. There were a lot of very good putts made. It’s a game of momentum, as I keep saying. It was clearly going in GB & I direction this morning. I think it is amazing that we’ve played three of the four sessions and not had a match that’s been halved so far. I expect that we will have some very tight matches that will come in the closing holes of this cup."
GB & I captain made a premature ‘winning speech’ when briefing reporters, which was to haunt her later in the day. "It’s actually where I wanted the team to be at lunchtime on the final day. My goal this morning was to be on level terms going into the singles. Obviously we’re not going to make the same mistakes as we did on Saturday afternoon. We knew we had to tackle our course management, as that is were we fell down yesterday afternoon. You would have seen out there this morning, we didn’t drive into as many bunkers. We hit more greens and we hit onto the fairways. The team has made a lot more pars. That’s why we scored better. It was a simple as that. This afternoon, I’ve no doubt that it is going be very, very tight but I’m looking forward to it. I really am."
By the evening, as the sun’s rays sank into the Irish Sea and the pine trees shadows stretched across the eighteenth hole, no matter what GB & I did, the cup was in the hands of the Americans. Putting on a brave face and fighting to the last putt, the GB & I team acted with amazing sportsmanship and good humour. The USA team and its supporters were amazingly reserved in their celebrations as all the tired players withdrew to the clubhouse before the closing ceremony. Both teams came out to the applause of the now depleted spectators and listened to the speeches. Jokingly the GB & I captain said,
"I was not ready to speak about a defeat, as I had already written the acceptance speech. The American team has been a fantastic team to play and we have all had an amazing time and made friendships that will last a lifetime." The American team captain also praised the GB & I team. Both teams praised Formby Golf Club for their hospitality.
Spectators were unanimous in their appreciation. This comment typifies their reaction, "Both teams are really friendly and a credit to ladies’ golf. This event has been managed fantastically. The people of Formby along with the Club have shown the UK to be a friendly and welcoming place to all the national media and visitors alike. Well done. This is better than the Open."
I would like to add a mention regarding the fantastic skills of the back room staff, all of them; from security, and catering staff to press office staff, not forgetting the caddies and also the countless Formby Golf Club volunteers who lined the course. All of them were a credit to the region and were friendly, polite and always helpful. Well done to all involved.
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