Curtis Cup: Great Britain and Ireland needs near singles sweep to upset U.S. at historic Merion

ARDMORE, PA. — It looked like Great Britain and Ireland might finally get the session they needed at the 42nd Curtis Cup. Captain Elaine Ratcliffe’s squad was 4 up in two matches and 2 up in a third in afternoon foursomes.

But it didn’t last.

The visiting team lost momentum down the stretch at Merion as the Americans ended Saturday with a commanding 8½ to 3½ lead. Team USA only needs 10 points to retain the Cup. GB&I hasn’t won on U.S. soil since 1994 at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Curtis Cup rookie Amari Avery is now 4-0 for the week and has a chance to become only the third American to go 5-0, joining Stacy Lewis and Kristen Gillman.

Avery paired with Megha Ganne for both fourball victories and Rachel Kuehn in foursomes.

Team USA player Amari Avery reacts after putting on hole one during Four-Ball Matches at the 2022 Curtis Cup at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. on Saturday, June 11, 2022. (Chris Keane/USGA)

Hannah Darling and Annabell Fuller delivered the only full point for GB&I in the afternoon session, defeating Jensen Castle and Latanna Stone, 2 and 1. Darling picked up a slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza in the media room late in the round and said it gave her a boost.

“Down the stretch was tough,” said Darling. “I needed something to kind of lift me up a little bit. I went for the pepperoni and sausage. It was pretty good. It was actually a bigger slice than I wanted, but you know what, I ate it all.”

Darling said her partner was jealous and asked for a bite. Fuller noted that last year at Conwy Golf Club in Wales, there was an ice cream van near the 13th that they enjoyed visiting. Seeing Darling come out with a slice of pizza brought back good memories.

“I knew coming into that she was deemed to hole some putts,” said Fuller as Ratcliffe stood a few steps away eating her own piece of the pie.

Ratcliffe said her team set a pace on Saturday afternoon that put more pressure on the U.S. She’d like to see more of that in Sunday singles.

“We took it to them,” said Ratcliffe, “we executed shots. The result in the end perhaps does not show the golf that was played out there.”

Team GB&I player Caley McGinty chips to the green on hole 17 during Foursomes Matches at the 2022 Curtis Cup at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. on Saturday, June 11, 2022. (Chris Keane/USGA)

Darling noted that her team has gone over all the putts that came close at every meal so far this week. She’s looking forward to talking about the ones that dropped late in the fourth session and believes they’re due for more.

“I think we waited a little bit too long to get our first win on the board,” said Fuller, “but I mean, we’re all going into tomorrow with our head held strong and our whole team wants this more than anything, and especially after last year it being so tight. … I know we want it more than the Americans and we’re all going to play our hearts out.”