Elaine Farquharson-Black earned a place in the record books as the first successful Scottish captain in the event as Great Britain & Ireland won the Curtis Cup for just the second time in the last ten contests after holding off a spirited fightback from the United States.
After claiming five of the six points available on day two, the home side needed just two and half points from yesterday’s eight singles matches to secure victory at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in County Wicklow.
A win for Leona Maguire over Sienna Brooks and a half point from Olivia Mehaffey against world No 1 Hannah O’Sullivan put GB&I on the verge of victory, but Monica Vaughn and Andrea Lee then added to the earlier win for Bailey Tardy to keep the contest alive.
Meghan MacLaren saw her three-hole lead with four to play cut to a single hole by Bethany Wu, before holding her nerve to win the 17th and secure the winning point with a 2&1 victory.
Moments later, Bronte Law defeated Mika Liu by two holes to become just the second player ever to record a perfect 5-0 record, American Stacy Lewis having done so at St Andrews in 2008, the year the event switched from two to three days. Mariel Galdiano defeated Maria Dunne in the last match to make the final score 11.5 to 8.5.
“The Americans played great today but I always thought we were in control,” said Aberdeen lawyer Farquharson-Black. “We were always above the line. It was tense for a while but I never had any real doubt we would win.”
The triumph came 24 years after Farquharson-Black played on a winning team that also included Catriona Matthew (she was still Lambert then) at Prairie Dunes in 1992.
“It has been an incredible week,” she added. “I will remember every minute of it. But they’ve been such an easy team to captain.
“I think the hardest decision I had was what we’d wear and then they took that decision for me. It has been fantastic. I’ve enjoyed every minute.”
GB&I have now won the last two home contests after also coming out on top at Nairn in 2012, when Pamela Pretswell was on the triumphant home team.
“Nothing even comes close to this,” said MacLaren, who graduated from Florida International University in May. “This is incredible. I can’t even put it into words.”
World No 4 Law, who was also part of the winning side in 2012, added: “The team was just incredible. For me, coming into this, a lot of people had written us off. We kept hearing things that we have a 32-year-old (Maria Dunne) on the team and she’s just been unbelievable, as have all the rookies.
“For me to end it this way – it’s probably going to be my last Curtis Cup – is just a dream. I am so proud to just represent my country.”
US captain Robin Burke felt her side had been capable of pulling off a similar comeback to that of last year’s Solheim Cup team, who recovered from a four-point deficit in the singles in Germany.
“I thought they were going to pull it off and they fought to the very end,” Burke said after seeing the Americans come up short in their bid retain the trophy they won at St Louis Country Club in the biennial contest two years ago.
“I am proud of all of them. They have a lot of spirit and a lot of heart. [GB&I] just played really well yesterday. They made a ton of birdies on us and we almost recovered. We just didn’t quite get there.”