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Leona leads the way as Olivia gives it her best shot

By Phil Casey

Ulster's Leona Maguire and Bronte Law of England helped Great Britain and Ireland get off to the ideal start before the United States fought back to finish the first day of the 39th Curtis Cup on level terms.

The home side won the opening foursomes session 2-1 at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club and moved further ahead when Law and Maguire, from Cavan, combined to win the first fourball match against Bethany Wu and Sierra Brooks.

However, there was heartbreaking defeat for Tandragee's Olivia Mehaffey.

World number one Hannah O'Sullivan and Mariel Galdiano defeated Mehaffey and Charlotte Thomas on the 18th green and Bailey Tardy and Monica Vaughn won 2&1 against Meghan MacLaren and Alice Hewson to make the score 3-3.

Tardy and Vaughn had earlier fought back from three down after eight holes to beat MacLaren and Maria Dunne in the foursomes and prevent the visitors from suffering a whitewash in the opening session.

Law and Mehaffey beat O'Sullivan and Galdiano 2&1 in the opening contest, although world number two Maguire and Thomas actually put the first point on the board with a 4&2 win over Andrea Lee and Mika Liu.

The United States have won eight of the last nine contests between the top female amateurs from both sides of the Atlantic, although Great Britain and Ireland did taste victory in the last home tie at Nairn in 2012.

Meanwhile Graeme McDowell was unable to use an early birdie to his advantage as he struggled to make the cut at the St Jude Classic in Memphis.

The Portrush man had left himself with work to do after shooting a three over par 73 on the first day, but a birdie on the par five third gave him a chance of moving up the leaderboard.

He suffered a setback four holes later though, dropping a shot at the seventh hole.

Two more bogeys in the space of three holes just after the turn left the 36-year-old facing a weekend off as he dropped three shots off the projected cut.

American Daniel Berger held the halfway lead on nine under after shooting an impressive six under par 64 on day two.

Berger had been a couple of shots off the lead after the first round, shooting 67,

Belfast Telegraph


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