Liz Janangelo's 1-up singles victory over Shelley McKevitt of England retained the Curtis Cup for the United States of America on Sunday at Formby Golf Club. The point by Janangelo of West Hartford, Conn., gave the USA its ninth point of the 33rd Match against Great Britain and Ireland, thus retaining the Cup for a fourth consecutive Match.
The USA needed only nine points to keep the Cup since it already owned possession of it coming into the two-day competition. GB&I needed 9½ points to regain the Cup, something it hasn't accomplished since the 1996 Match at Killarney Golf and Field Club (Killeen Course) in Ireland.
Annie Thurman of Highland, Utah, ensured the USA of an outright victory when she edged Danielle Masters of England in the last singles match, 1 up, making the final margin 10-8 in favor of the USA. Thurman, the 2002 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links champion, went 3-1 to lead the USA players. She won three consecutive holes, starting with a par-4 on the 353-yard 14th, to take control against Masters. She assured the USA of an outright victory when she took a two-hole lead after Masters bogeyed the par-3, 120-yard 16th.
For the USA, the key was clearly the singles matches - the USA was 1-5 in foursomes, but recorded an overall 9-3 singles mark.
"We clearly didn't master the foursomes formula on this golf course," said USA Captain Martha Kirouac. "We did the best we could. I pretty much just wanted to get to the singles matches this afternoon and then I knew we'd be all right."
Janangelo took the lead for good in her seesaw match at the 16th hole when McKevitt flew the green with her tee shot. After halving the par-5, 490-yard 17th, Janangelo sank a six-foot par putt on the par-4, 380-yard 18th hole to halve the hole and win the match.
It was her first point in the competition after she lost her Sunday morning foursome match with Michelle Wie and Saturday's singles match against GB&I veteran Curtis Cupper Emma Duggleby of England.
"It meant a lot to me for Martha to have the confidence to put me in the lineup," said Janangelo. "I hadn't been playing all that well, but I felt I could come through."
The USA, which was tied 6-6 going into the final six singles matches, got into position for the victory when Paula Creamer, 17, of Pleasanton, Calif., handed Duggleby her first loss of the 2004 Match, 3 and 2. Creamer was 2-1 in three matches.
Wie, at 14 the youngest USA Curtis Cup player ever, continued her strong singles run with a 6-and-5 rout of Nicola Timmins of England. Wie, of Honolulu, Hawaii, won Saturday's singles match against Anna Highgate of Wales, 5 and 4. She finished the Match with a 2-2 record.
Anne Laing of Scotland defeated 17-year-old Jane Park of Beaumont, Calif., 3 and 1, to keep the GB&I's chances alive. Claire Coughlin of Ireland earned the eighth GB&I point with a 2-up victory over Brittany Lang of McKinney, Texas.
Previously, no team had lost the Curtis Cup after sweeping the first day of foursomes. The GB&I team was seeking its first Curtis Cup victory since the 1996 Match at Ireland 's Killarney (Killeen) Golf Club.
Attendance figures were released by the Ladies Golf Union, which conducts the Curtis Cup when it is played in Great Britain and Ireland. More than 8,000 spectators watched the competition Sunday.
Begun in 1932, the Curtis Cup is a biennial match for women's amateur golfers between a team from the United States of America and one from Great Britain and Ireland . Victory in a match scores one point. When a match goes 18 holes without a decision, one-half point is awarded to each team. Three foursome (alternate shots of partners) matches and six singles matches are played on each of the two days of competition.
The Match is conducted alternately in the USA and Great Britain and Ireland. The team winning the Cup takes custody for the ensuing two years. In case of a tie, the Cup remains with the previous winner. The USA now leads the series, 24-6-3.