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What looked like a laugher turned into anything but as the United States managed to hold on and win the 2000 Curtis Cup at Canton (England) Golf Club.

The U.S., which hadn't won on foreign soil since 1984, took control on the first day when it rolled up a 7-2 lead. With only nine points required to retain the Cup - the team in possession of the Cup keeps it in the event of a 9-9 tie - it was a virtual certainty that the Americans would win and extend their lead in the series to 22-6-3. But Great Britain and Ireland staged a furious, spirited rally on Sunday, winning six of the nine matches to make the final 108 score closer than the biennial competition actually was.

The United States team was led by Duke University junior Beth Bauer and Stanford University senior Hilary Horneyer, both of whom won three times. By teaming with Bauer to win a firstday foursomes match, Carol Semple Thompson added to two records she'd already owned: playing in her 11th Curtis Cup and winning her 16th match.

In taking its 7-2 lead, the U.S. won two matches at Ganton's difficult par-4 18th with bogeys. In the second of the morning foursomes matches, Becky Brewerton's s approach was well left and well short, and after GB&I needed two more strokes just to reach the green, the U.S. team of Stephanie Keever, a teammate of Homeyer at Stanford, and Angela Stanford managed to escape with a 1-up win. Later that afternoon, with Robin Weiss of West Palm Beach, Fla., and Fiona Brown all square, Brown had a five-foot putt to halve the match but left it six inches short, giving Weiss the victory despite a three-putt bogey of her own.

Great Britain and Ireland's Sunday rally began early as it took control of the first two foursomes matches. Brewerton and Becky Hudson went 5 up after eight holes against Bauer and Thompson, and Emma Duggleby and Suzanne O'Brien went 5 up after five against Keever and Stanford.

The U.S. regained a bit of momentum as Homeyer and Virginia Derby Grimes broke away from an all-square match with wins at three straight holes starting at the 15th. Their 3-and-1 victory was secured at the par-3 17th as Grimes nearly aced the hole and Homeyer knocked in the four-foot birdie putt.

GB&I's comeback continued in the afternoon singles, but Bauer never trailed in defeating Hudson at the closing hole to give the U.S. its all-important ninth point, and Homeyer added to the final margin of victory in the last match on the course when she took the first two holes of the second nine and went on to beat Brewerton, 3 and 2.