Teens dominate U.S. team for Curtis Cup matches in Ireland

Sierra Brooks
Sierra Brooks during the 2016 South Atlantic Amateur. (Tracy Wilcox)

Seven of the eight players on the 2016 Curtis Cup team are teenagers, including five 17-year-olds, the U.S. Golf Association announced Tuesday. Monica Vaugh, a 21-year-old junior at Arizona State, will be the grande dame on the youngest U.S. Curtis Cup team in event history.

With college seniors such as Emma Talley and Mariah Stackhouse, two key leaders on the victorious 2014 team, expected to turn professional immediately upon graduating this spring, the USGA’s selection committee looked to the junior league.

Golfweek has learned that the committee leaned heavily on the World Amateur Golf Ranking in making its selections for the biennial matches against Great Britain & Ireland’s top female amateurs. Three American juniors are ranked in the top 10 of the WAGR: Hannah O’Sullivan (2), Sierra Brooks (4) and Mariel Galdiano (6). Bailey Tardy, a freshman at Georgia, ranks seventh. All four teens will be representing Team USA in the June 10-12 matches at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in Enniskerry, Ireland, near Dublin. Galdiano is Golfweek’s top-ranked junior.

The complete team:

  • Sierra Brooks, 17, of Sorrento, Fla.
  • Mariel Galdiano, 17, of Pearl City, Hawaii
  • Andrea Lee, 17, of Hermosa Beach, Calif.
  • Mika Liu, 17, of Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Hannah O’Sullivan, 17, of Chandler, Ariz.
  • Bailey Tardy, 19, of Peachtree Corners, Ga.
  • Monica Vaughn, 21, of Reedsport, Ore.
  • Bethany Wu, 19, of Diamond Bar, Calif.

The average age of the players at the time of competition will be 18.125. It was 18.375 in 2010 and 19.75 two years ago.

Three of the eight players are in college, with Bethany Wu, a freshman at UCLA, joining Tardy and Vaughn.

Alternates for the USA Team are, in order of ranking: Lauren Kim, 21, of Los Altos, Calif.; and Caroline Inglis, 22, of Eugene, Ore.

Robin Burke, the 1997 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up and a member of the victorious 1998 Curtis Cup team, will serve as U.S. captain. She is the wife of former Masters champion Jack Burke Jr., and helps him run Champions Club in Houston. Burke said she looks forward to bringing the players together for practice.

“I’m not sure Ireland is ready for us,” Burke said, “but we will be ready for Ireland.”

Team USA won the 2014 match at St. Louis (Mo.) Country Club, 13-7, and leads the overall series, 28-7-3.

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