“I don’t think any words can sum it up. To win the Curtis Cup in your home country with friends and family and everybody here, it’s just incredible,” said the 18-year-old star of the Great Britain & Ireland ladies team.
Three days of high drama had just ended in a stunning success for the home side. England’s Megan McLaren, whose mother traces her roots to Portrush, had secured the decisive match on the 17th green as GB&I swept to a three-point victory, 11.5 to 8.5.
Mehaffey had led from the front on the final day at Dun Laoghaire. Paired against world number one Hannah O’Sullivan at the top of the singles, Mehaffey went ahead early and made crucial par saves on the back nine to hold her advantage until the 18th.
“I was going out to do my bit to get my point, I was out there to lead by example. I played really well, got off to a quick start and hung in there,” said Mehaffey, who had an inspirational half against O’Sullivan.
“It’s (winning the Curtis Cup) is everything I thought it would be and 100 times more,” said Mehaffey, the world number eight.
Those sentiments were echoed by Maria Dunne: “I knew playing Curtis Cup was special but I didn’t realise it was going to be quite as good as this,” said Dunne, who, like Mehaffey, was a debutant in the event.
“It’s just an unbelievable feeling, I’m just so proud to stand with the girls here, the three of us winning the Curtis Cup, I’m so thrilled.”
Leona Maguire, the third Irish member of the team, was tasting victory for the second time.
“It’s definitely one of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of in any competition,” said Maguire, who secured the first point of the final day for Great Britain & Ireland.
Leading 8-4 overnight, having whitewashed the US 3-0 in Saturday’s fourball session, the hosts needed just two and a half points for overall victory.
The efforts of the previous two days limited the number of permutations on the final afternoon although an American comeback was a distinct possibility when they captured three of the first five matches. While Maguire sailed home 3&2 against Sierra Brooks, the US had points on the board courtesy of Bailey Tardy (4&3), Monica Vaughn (4&3) and Andrea Lee (2&1).
Now it was unclear where the winning point might come from. Meghan McLaren was three up through 14 but her lead was reduced on 15 and 16. In the match ahead, Bronte Law was all square through 16 while Skerries’ star Maria Dunne was two down in the anchor leg.
All the momentum was with the Americans but their hosts still had one hand on the cup. And the 17th green would be the stage for the decisive moments of the match.
England’s Bronte Law had a birdie putt conceded after three superb shots down the penultimate hole and as she headed to the 18th one ahead, Great Britain & Ireland were now just half a point from victory.
Having frittered away most of her lead on the two previous holes, McLaren held her composure down 17 and safely hit the green in regulation. Moments later, Law holed for another win on 18 and now the hosts were home and hosed.
“The reason that we have the trophy right now is because we’ve had some amazing team chemistry this week and everyone’s got along so well,” said Law, the world number four.
Captain, Elaine Farquharson-Black, who had decorated the locker room with images of previous winning teams, said: “Part of this week has been about reminding the players that this is part of something much bigger.