Olivia Mehaffey, Caolan Rafferty and Mark Power all enjoyed wins on day one as the International side breezed into a commanding 9-3 lead against hosts America at the Arnold Palmer Cup at Bay Hill.
Arizona State star Mehaffey teamed up with Maynooth ace Rafferty to great effect in the opening day’s mixed four-ball, the pair posting six birdies before a bogey at their penultimate hole took the match down the last. However, the Americans found trouble and a winning par would prove enough for a 1UP win in match 3 for the Irish duo, adding to Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, and Adrien Pandaries who drew first blood in a 2&1 win over Florida Gators Addie Baggarly and Ricky Castillo. The pair set the tone for the Internationals in what became an onslaught for the Americans until late, with Wake Forest star Power combining with Auburn’s Kaleigh Telfer; the pair were resounding winners, with seven birdies on a blemish-free card accounting for a 3&2 victory.
Losing three of the first four matches, the Americans notched their first ‘W’ with a 4&3 Zach Zediker birdie fest. Playing alongside Allisen Corpuz, Zediker tallied all five birdies for the pair while Corpuz kept cruise control on to allow for Zediker to attack the pin: “I kept telling her [Corpuz] ‘make pars and I can play aggressive from there’”, Zediker said post-match. “I was just looking at flags all day and getting it as close as I possibly could.” nTheir win over Sam Choi and Sofia Garcia was just one of two wins for the Stars and Stripes on Day 1.
The most lopsided match of the day came at the hands of Ingrid Lindblad and David Puig. Taking on Jonathan Brightwell and Kenzie Wright, the Swede and Spainaird made light work of the course with a 6&5 victory. The Internationals got out to a hot start with birdies on four of the first five holes while Brightwell and Wright negated one of the birdies with one of their own on No. 4. Unable to get any momentum rolling, two of the final three holes were decided by an American bogey.
In perhaps the most unique match of the day, Megan Schofill took on Puwit Anupansuebsai and Sophie Guo due to a withdrawal from a teammate. Holding her own, Schofill took a 2 up lead through two and a 1up lead through No. 10. Unfortunately for the Americans, the underdog match was not to be as the Internationals won hole Nos. 11, 13, and 16 to take a 2&1 win, keeping Team USA from what would feel like a stolen point.
As the final few matches came to a close, the Internationals looked as though they would hit double digits after just one round of matches. John Augenstein and Rachel Kuehn teamed up to give the US at least a couple of positives from the day as they battled back from 2 down through No. 15 to force a halve with Yuxin Lin and Angelina Le.
Closing out round one as the anchors, Pierceson Coody and Kaitlyn Papp faced Mattias Schmid and Emma Spitz. Giving the Americans hope, the Longhorns dominated, not allowing the Internationals to win a single hole, capping the match off with an eagle on the par-5 16th. Day two begins today with foursomes action.
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