No matter which side wins the Curtis Cup when the 28th annual matches conclude this afternoon at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn., the women's collegiate golf program in this country can take a bow.
Four members of the U.S. team and three members of the Great Britain and Ireland team were 1994 All-Americans.
The Americans are Emilee Klein, 20, Arizona State; Jill McGill, 22, Southern Cal; Stephanie Sparks, 21, Duke; and Wendy Ward, 21, Arizona State. From GB&I;, there are Mhairi McKay, 19, Stanford; Janice Moodie, 21, San Jose State; and Lisa Walton, 21, San Jose State.
McKay, the youngest of the visitors, and backed by British Girls and Scottish Girls championships at home in Glasgow, said: "It's been great playing over here, playing a different type of golf, because here it's all target stuff, straight for the pin.
"I know four of the Americans and I think that helps because many times teams have come over here and not really known their opposition. I've seen them play, so it's not so much of an unknown quantity. Hopefully, that will help settle us down a bit."
Moodie, also from Glasgow, and a former Scottish Ladies Amateur champion, is more declarative. "I think America has totally changed my game. I'm hitting the ball a lot longer, and straighter, and I'm just a lot more confident. I think it's a lot easier game here, though. Back home a lot of it can be a bit of luck; here if you hit a good shot, you are going to be rewarded."
At least three of the American collegians were rewarded at the NCAA championships in May. Klein won the title, with Ward, second, and McGill, reigning U.S. Women's Amateur and U.S. Women's Public Links champion, fourth.
During one stretch of the Curtis Cup competition, which began in 1932, Great Britain and Ireland lost 13 consecutive matches (1960-1984), but it has won three of the past four. Overall, the record is 20-5-2.
U.S. team captain Lancy Smith, a five-time Curtis Cup player in the 1970s and '80s, has a ready answer for that improvement.
"I think they are in the same position as we are in this country -- more players, more good players, than before," she said. "A lot of them have gone or are going to college here. They travel and they play, and their confidence level is higher because they've been successful.
"Another thing: They play against our players more than they used to."
The Honors Course was created 10 years ago, and according to Jack Lupton, the club's founder and chairman of the board, it was with one objective -- to honor amateur golf and those who excel at it.
Pete Dye was hired as the architect and upon first looking at the property outside of Chattanooga, he discovered the 400 acres were so densely wooded it was impossible to walk all of it. Most of the holes and green sites were drawn from a topographic map.
The area representatives in last week's U.S. Juniors at Westfield, N.J., failed to qualify for championship match play. With the cut at 153, Miguel Rivera, of Joppa, shot 81-78159, and Brendan McKinney, of Cockeysville, 81-80161. . . . There are 97 entries for six available places in tomorrow's U.S. Amateur qualifying event at Woodholme CC. The championship will be held Aug. 22-28 at TPC-Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.