Bandon Dunes hosts biennial Curtis Cup Competition

Updated: July 28, 2006, 10:07 PM ET
Associated Press

BANDON, Ore. -- Without a Michelle Wie to capture attention, the focus of Curtis Cup competition will be squarely on the golf.

The biennial women's amateur event comes stateside this weekend to Bandon Dunes, a rural coastal resort about a five-hour's drive from Portland. The remote locale also keeps the emphasis on the match-play competition between the United States and a team from Britain and Ireland.

It is the first international tournament in Bandon, which has developed a reputation as one of the finest golf destinations in the world. The par-71 Pacific Dunes course, where the 34th Curtis Cup will be played, was designed by Tom Doak.

The Americans lead the series 24-6-3, and won the last event, which featured a certain 14-year-old phenom from Hawaii and fellow up-and-comer Paula Creamer. Wie was the youngest amateur ever to play in the Curtis Cup.

Pennsylvanian Carol Semple Thompson is the captain of the U.S. team, which features 19-year-old Jane Park and Amanda Blumenherst of Duke, who both tied for 10th at the U.S. Women's Open last month.

Park, who also played in the Curtis Cup in 2004, will be back in Oregon less than two weeks later for the U.S. Women's Amateur at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, west of Portland. Then it is expected that she'll turn pro.

Other members of the team are Virginia Grimes of Meridian, Miss.; Jennie Lee of Henderson, Nev.; Taylor Leon of Dallas; Paige Mackenzie of Yakima, Wash.; Amanda McCurdy of El Dorado, Ark.; and Jenny Suh of Fairfax, Va.

Thompson, who has participated in the Curtis Cup a record 12 times, calls her team "the kids." They got together to practice at Bandon two weeks ago.

During the match play, there are 12 singles and six foursomes matches, played in the alternate-shot format. Each match counts as one point toward the team score.

Besides Wie and Creamer, other prominent pros to have played in the Curtis Cup include Juli Inkster (1982), Cristie Kerr (1996) and Beth Daniel (1976, '78).

Ada O'Sullivan of Ireland captains the Britain and Ireland team, which earlier this month was invited to Buckingham Palace.

"Ada has left no stone unturned in her preparation for this match, and if commitment, dedication and desire count for anything, Ada will surely be bringing the Curtis Cup back to our shores this summer," said Pam Chung of the Ladies Golf Union, the governing body for ladies' amateur golf in Great Britain and Ireland.

The Britain and Ireland team includes Claire Coughlan of Cork, Ireland; Melissa Reid of Derbyshire, England; Kiran Matharu of Leeds, England; Breanne Loucks of Wrexham, Wales; Martina Gillen of Dublin, Ireland; Tricia Mangan of Limerick, Ireland; Naomi Edwards of Yorkshire, England; and Tara Delaney of Carlow, Ireland.

The United States won 10-8 in 2004 at Formby in England, with Liz Janangelo clinching it with a 1-up victory over Shelley McKevitt. Wie and Creamer each won two singles matches.

Play in the 2008 Curtis Cup will be at the Old Course at Saint Andrews, Scotland.

Bandon Dunes, which opened in 2001, will also play host to next year's U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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