WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?

Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., June 13 — Alexis Thompson put the hammer down early Sunday and never let up, as she helped her U.S. team nail a 12-5-7.5 victory over Great Britain and Ireland and earn its seventh consecutive Curtis Cup.
Early leads. U.S. teammate Jennifer Johnson, who also had a solid lead early, tapped in for par on the par-3 14th hole to beat Rachel Jennings, 5 and 4, and clinch the 36th Curtis Cup at historic Essex County Club.
After sweeping all six contests Saturday, Team USA needed to win only two of the eight points up for grabs in Sunday’s singles contests. The U.S. squad retained the cup with the win by Johnson in the morning’s third pairing.
Northern Ireland’s Danielle McVeigh fought off Jennifer Song, 3 and 2, in the first match of the day, paving the way for Johnson to close it out.
Undefeated in final amateur tourney. The day, however, belonged to Thompson, who finished the weekend 4-0-1 after closing out a 6-and-5 thumping of Scotland’s Sally Watson for the U.S. team’s first point of the day.
“Sally’s a great player,” Thompson said after her round, which ended in a driving rain. “She just had a rough day today.”
Long off the tee. Thompson, who will turn pro in time to play next week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic (expect a formal announcement on Wednesday, said Thompson’s dad, Scott), was in control from her opening drive, which rocketed past Watson’s by some 30 yards.
Indeed, Thompson put pressure on her GB&I opponent all day with soaring drives and laser-like shots into undulating greens on the Donald Ross-designed layout.
“[Hitting it long] is an advantage,” Thompson said, “but as long as it’s straight, that’s all that matters, especially with the rough out here.”
Essex is known for its healthy fescue grasses that can swallow golf balls and grab clubs. Best to carry a scythe in your bag if you don’t keep it in the short stuff.
Despite her disclaimer, Thompson knocked approach shots close with her irons, while Watson scrambled to keep up with hybrids off the deck. Even so, the 18-year-old Stanford freshman from Scotland had her opportunities but could not capitalize.
Never out of the hole. Watson had the advantage when her tee shot landed short but on the fairway on the par-3 fourth. A perfect putt up the hill to the front, right flag left a two-footer for par, while Thompson chunked a wedge shot from the green-side bunker onto the fringe.
Suddenly, however, Thompson putted her third shot to within inches of the cup, after which Watson inexplicably ran her par putt several feet by the hole. A power lip-out followed, and Thompson, who had lost the previous hole to fall back to all-square, was 1-up.
Rear-view mirror. Thompson never looked back, especially after winning the fifth and watching Watson lose her tee shot on the par-4 sixth into the creek that crosses the fifth and sixth fairways. Thompson hit a solid shot from a bunker some 60 yards from the green but came up short.
No worries, however, as she chipped uphill to within two feet of a back and left pin placement. When Thompson made her part putt after Watson missed a lengthy putt for par, the American went 3-up.
Hammer time. Thompson was all business on the course, but did allow herself a feel-good moment after both players made par on the par-3 seventh and she had ripped a drive on the par-4 eighth.
Thompson smiled and nodded twice after a fan yelled, “You got it, put the hammer down.” A long iron shot from the right-hand rough was directly at the flag, causing another fan to state, matter-of-factly, “There’s the hammer.”
Fans for life. Immediately after her win, Thompson began signing autograhps and posing for photos with young fans who crowded around her off the 13th green.
Thompson, herself, noted the uniqueness of the Curtis Cup environment, in which fans “just walk down the fairway with you. It’s a great experience.”
It certainly was for Cheryl Glovsky’s children. “They’re going to be following her for a long time,” Hamilton, Mass., resident Glovsky said of her nine-year-old twin boys, who smiled for the camera as Thompson towered over them.
In other matches, GB&I’s Lisa Maguire topped Kimberly Kim, 1-up, while her 15-year-old twin sister, Leona, bested Tiffany Lua, 2 and 1. Jessica Korda carded four birdies and an eagle on her way to defeating GB&I’s Pamela Pretswell, 4 and 3.
Cydney Clanton notched a 4-and-3 win over GB&I’s Hannah Barwood, and Holly Clyburn was able to earn the GB&I unit a fourth point with a 2-and-1 victory over Stephanie Kono.
Next stop: LPGA. Thompson will likely face her Curtis Cup teammate, Song, in professional tilts soon enough. Song, who will also join the LPGA Tour and was expected to play at the ShopRite tourney as well, is the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links (WAPL) champ.
They, teammates Johnson and Kim, and the GB&I’s Watson will tee it up at next month’s U.S. Women’s Open.

WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?