Notebook: Chemistry Works for USA’s Kim-Lee Duo

Erynne Lee (left) and USA teammate Kyung Kim never trailed in their 3 and 2 victory during Saturday's Foursomes session. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)
By Lisa D. Mickey
June 7, 2014

ST. LOUIS – Kyung Kim and good friend Erynne Lee made their Curtis Cup foursomes match Saturday at St. Louis Country Club look easy. 

Lee, a long hitter, would rip shots and Kim, as consistent as they come, would get the ball in the hole. The USA duo won its afternoon session, 3 and 2, over Great Britain and Ireland’s Eilidh Briggs and Gabriella Cowley.

“Kyung matches up well with anybody and she’s the type of player you can rely on,” said Lee. “She has an incredible short game."

Curtis Cup Coverage
USA Takes Commanding 9-2 Lead

Lee, a rising senior at UCLA, said her drives were somewhat wobbly in the Saturday afternoon foursomes and her iron play was not as crisp as in the morning four-ball session, but her partner provided the needed support.

“I felt like Kyung carried me and she did a lot of the work in this match,” added Lee. “In foursomes, it’s not just about your own game; you’re working with your partner. You’re one team.”

Kim, a standout at cross-town rival USC, said her job was simple on Saturday.

“I just had to put the ball on the green and make the putts,” she said.

On the 15th hole in the afternoon, Lee’s approach shot left Kim with a 15-footer above the hole. Kim converted the putt.

Both players said they won’t be distracted by the USA’s 9-2 advantage heading into the eight Sunday singles matches.

“I plan to play my own game and know that par is a good score,” said Kim.

Added Lee: “It will be my own best ball tomorrow.”

Foursomes Match Resumes

Saturday’s third foursomes match between Stephanie Meadow and Georgia Hall of GB&I, and the USA’s Ally McDonald and Mariah Stackhouse, will resume play on the 16th hole on Sunday at 11 a.m. CDT. The USA leads the match, 1 up, after Meadow/Hall won the par-5 15th with a short birdie putt.

"I think you completely forget about everything because the last three holes are going to be like another match," said McDonald. "You have to play like you're all-square or down – [it is] a three-hole shootout. I expect us to come out ready to play."

Play was suspended due to darkness at 8:30 p.m.

If GB&I loses the match, the USA would only need a half-point in the singles to regain the Cup.

Sunday’s singles session is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.

Swing Holes

GB&I captain Tegwen Matthews didn’t make excuses for her players after two days of competition. Instead, she credited the Americans’ play and pointed to three holes in particular – Nos. 11, 12 and 13 – that rewarded her opponents in Saturday’s foursomes session.

The USA players won 11, 12 and 13 to go from all square to 3 up. That momentum keyed those teams in winning two points.

“It looked so much better for us this afternoon and the girls were feeling good about it,” Matthews said. “The Americans are firing at more pins than we are and we haven’t put enough pressure on them yet.”

Tough Course That Requires Homework

USA captain Ellen Port admits that her team benefited from the extra practice sessions she held in early April. She arranged for her squad to practice at St. Louis Country Club for three days during Masters week.

“They weren’t ready in April,” said Port, who lives in St. Louis. “I knew it, but they didn’t know it.”

The American team flew into St. Louis on April 10 and played nine holes in the afternoon. The next day, they played 36 holes and then Port scheduled competitive 18-hole foursomes matches against top local male players to close the practice session on Saturday.

When asked to explain the USA’s dominance of the first two days of the Match, Port credited “home-course advantage” and that  April practice session as a difference-maker.

“This particular golf course is very difficult and we got to see it more than the GB&I players did,” said Port of the challenging C.B. Macdonald layout.

Matthews agreed that extra rounds at St. Louis Country Club likely were a huge benefit to the Americans.

“This is the kind of course you need to know pretty well and there’s a lot more to it than you think,” she said. “The more you play it, the more trouble you find. It’s the kind of course you have to respect.”

Lisa D. Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.

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