The golf world now knows what we in Colorado have known for years: Westminster’s Jennifer Kupcho is the real deal.
Less than a month after she won the NCAA Division I National Championship, the Wake Forest University senior-to-be and two-time ANNIKA Award finalist was celebrating the most dominant performance by a team in the 80-year history of the Curtis Cup—a 17-3 throttling of the team from Great Britain & Ireland at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, NY.
The first Colorado competitor in the biennial matches since Jill McGill in 1994, Kupcho went 3-1-1 over the weekend. She and 15-year-old teammate Lucy Li halved the very first match of the tournament, although they surrendered a 3-up lead to the team of Olivia Mehaffey and Sophie Lamb with six holes to play in the Friday morning four-ball.
That afternoon’s foursomes found Kupcho, ranked second in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, partnered with WAGR No.1 Lilia Vu of UCLA. They beat Alice Hewson (WAGR 33) and India Clyburn (96) 2 up.
After she and University of Alabama sophomore Kristen Gillman combined to pour in six birdies in 16 holes to win the morning four-ball 3 and 2 over Mehaffey and Lamb, Kupcho faced the pair again in the afternoon foursomes, this time with Vu as her partner.
The GB&I team got a measure of revenge by defeating the Americans 2 and 1, but it was the only blemish on the U.S. in the six Saturday matches.
With a 9-3 lead going into Sunday’s singles competition, the U.S. team only needed 1.5 points to win back the cup.
To close out the event, Kupcho went head-to-head with 16-year-old English phenom Lily May-Humphreys. After losing the first hole, Kupcho drained a long eagle putt on the second hole and made birdies on the next two to take a two-up lead. When Humphreys squared the match on 9, Kupcho again responded with an eagle on 10 and a birdie on 11.
The American never looked back, defeating the youngster 2 and 1. Her seven fellow American teammates all took care of business as well, and the 8-player unit went undefeated on the day, not even halving one match.
Interestingly, Colorado was the site of the previous largest margin of victory, when the U.S. beat GB&I 14 ½- 3 ½ at Denver Country Club in 1982. It also marked the first time in the history of the competition that every USA player claimed at least two points.
“I think we both played great, and I came out on top.”
Gracious in victory, Kupcho told Fox Sports 1, “To be on the U.S. team with a bunch of girls I competed against in the NCAAs, and to win. It’s just a great feeling!”
Kupcho hopes to have that feeling again July 6-8, as she and six of the other Curtis Cuppers (Li is still in high school) will travel to Evian Les-Bains, France as part of the first female contingent to compete in the annual Arnold Palmer Cup. Comprised entirely of collegiate players, the team’s 12 women will compete alongside its 12 men (in mixed foursomes and mixed four-ball matches) versus an identically constituted team from all over the glob, rather than just Europe (another first).
If they didn’t already, the golf world will know Jennifer Kupcho.