U.S. takes 5-1 lead at Curtis Cup

ST. LOUIS -- Southern California's Annie Park won two matches Friday in the Curtis Cup to help the United States take a 5-1 lead over Britain and Ireland at St. Louis Country Club.

The 19-year-old Park, from Levittown, New York, teamed with Mississippi State's Ally McDonald to beat Bronte Law and Charlotte Thomas 4 and 3 in the morning four-ball matches, then joined UCLA's Erynne Lee to top Eilidh Briggs and Gabriella Cowley 3 and 1 the afternoon foursomes.

"I think all of us, we have this little fire in us," Park said.

The United States is trying to regain the cup after falling 10½-9½ in 2012 at Nairn in Scotland. The loss was the Americans' first since 1996. The U.S. leads the series 27-7-3.

"Great, but still mixed emotions because there's still a lot of golf," said U.S. captain Ellen Port, from St. Louis. "I'm never one to get very excited with a big lead because I've seen them go away, but they did a great job. ... There was a lot of energy, especially in the morning."

On Saturday, there will be three morning foursomes matches and three afternoon four-ball matches. On Sunday, the biennial competition will close with eight singles.

"I suppose if you looked at them just now, their chins were a little down in the locker room, but what I've just said to them is that I don't want them to feel despondent about the games," Britain and Ireland captain Tegwen Matthews said. "Surely, if you look at the score, there's every reason to be despondent. But I don't want them to be despondent about how well they played. They played well. The Americans played better."

In the other four-ball matches, Stanford's Mariah Stackhouse and Alabama's Emma Talley beat Alabama's Stephanie Meadow and Georgia Hall 2 and 1, and UCLA's Alison Lee and Southern California's Kyung Kim edged Annabel Dimmock and Gemma Dryburgh 4 and 3.

Meadow and Hall halved their foursomes match with Alison Lee and Clemson's Ashlan Ramsey, and Dimmock and Law halved with Talley and McDonald.

Talley's final putt on No. 18 lipped out, giving Britain and Ireland the hole.

"That could have been another stab in the heart had we lost that match," Matthews said. "For us, that was a nice way to finish. I'm sure (Dimmock and Law) are not disappointed, but I'm sure in some ways they are disappointed. The Americans were disappointed they didn't win that match."

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