Gillman, US roll in biggest blowout in Curtis Cup history

SCARSDALE, N.Y. (AP) Kristen Gillman led a U.S. singles sweep Sunday in the biggest blowout in Curtis Cup history.

Gillman, the 20-year-old University of Alabama star from Austin, Texas, beat 16-year-old Annabell Fuller 5 and 4 for the winning point to cap a perfect weekend at Quaker Ridge.

The Americans won 17-3, breaking the record for margin of victory of 11 set in a 14 1/2-3 1/2 victory at Denver Country Club in 1982. They improved to 29-8-3 in the series, rebounding from a loss in 2016 at Dun Laoghaire in Ireland.

”I’m very proud of my players,” U.S. captain Virginia Derby Grimes said. ”They are a phenomenal group of girls. They’ve been so much fun to be around, and they just gelled and bonded.”

Passed over for the 2016 team, Gillman – the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion at age 16 – joined American Stacy Lewis (2008) and England’s Bronte Law (2016) as the only players to go 5-0-0 since the format was changed to three days in 2008.

”I felt that definitely motivated me,” Gillman said. ”That’s been one of my main goals the last few years, making the Curtis Cup team. Whenever I didn’t feel like practicing, I always had that in the back of my mind. I kept grinding out there.”

Sophia Schubert, the Texas senior and 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, started the singles rout with a 2-and-1 victory over Olivia Mehaffey.

”I was so excited to get out here today,” said Schubert, at 22 the oldest U.S. player. ”I played OK yesterday and the day before, but I was just ready to come out here and play their best player and just show them what I can do.”

In the other matches, top-ranked Lilia Vu defeated Sophie Lamb 2 up; Jennifer Kupcho, the NCAA individual winner this year for Wake Forest, beat Lily May Humphreys 2 and 1; Andrea Lee edged Alice Hewson 2 and 1; Lauren Stephenson beat Shannon McWilliam 2 and 1; 15-year-old Lucy Li defeated India Clyburn 5 and 4; and Mariel Galdiano held off Paula Grant 1 up.

”It’s a challenging course,” Gillman said. ”You have to make sure you hit a lot of fairways and greens and put pressure on your opponent. I think I did that. It’s been so much fun. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls. I’ve had the best week of my life.”

The U.S. won all five sessions for the first time, and every American earned at least two points.

”We believe in each other so much,” Vu said. ”When we’re on the course together, when it’s like foursomes or four-balls, we just read each other’s putts. We know it with confidence and just do it.”

The U.S. swept the singles session for the first time since 1990 when it went 6-0 at Somerset Hills New Jersey.

”We’re obviously very disappointed with the scoreline and all you can do is congratulate the United States on its win and the very high standard of golf they have played this week,” Britain and Ireland captain Elaine Farquharson-Black said.