Europe’s Junior Ryder Cup Captain, Maitena Alsuguren, has unveiled her 12-strong team to take on the United States at Interlachen Country Club from September 26-27.
Falko Hanisch, winner of the recent 90th Boys’ Amateur Championship at Muirfield, was the leading male qualifier, and the German will be joined in Minnesota by Finland’s Matias Honkala, who was placed third in the Junior Ryder Cup Order of Merit after a highly consistent campaign.
As the Order of Merit winner, Max Schmitt, has been chosen to represent his native Germany in the Eisenhower Trophy from September 21-24, so ruling him out of the Junior Ryder Cup, his place will instead be taken by Sweden’s Marcus Svensson, who was succeeded as Boys Amateur Champion by Hanisch.
The qualifiers were supplemented by three more Captain’s picks, with Alsuguren calling up the talented trio of Denmark’s Jonathan Goth-Rasmussen, who placed fifth in the 2016 French International Amateur (Murat Cup) and son of former European Tour player Jacob Rasmussen; Norwegian Kristoffer Reitan, who was the leading qualifier in the 2015 European Boys’ Team Championship in Finland; and Frenchman Adrien Pendaries, winner of the Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship in 2015.
For the girls, Sweden’s Julia Engström led the way after topping the Junior Ryder Cup Order of Merit, thanks chiefly to her victory in this year’s Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship, where the 15 year old became youngest winner in the tournament’s history.
Engström, currently sitting third in the European Golf Rankings and 24th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, will be joined at Interlachen by her fellow automatic qualifiers, Italian Emilie Alba Paltrinieri and France’s Pauline Roussin-Bouchard.
Paltrinieri has tasted success twice in 2016, firstly winning the European Girls’ Team Championship Stroke Play qualification ahead of Roussin-Bouchard, before adding the Girls’ British Open Amateur Championship in Wales; whilst Roussin-Bouchard won the 2016 Spanish Ladies’ International Stroke Play in Spain.
In addition to the three automatic qualifiers, Alsuguren selected as her trio of wildcards Sweden’s Frida Kinhult, whose elder brother Markus Kinhult represented Europe in the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup and is now a fully-fledged European Tour Member, impressed when she represented Europe in the Patsy Hankins Trophy against Asia-Pacific earlier this year; her compatriot Beatrice Wallin, who clinched victory at the 2016 ANNIKA Invitational Europe at Bokskogens Golf Club; and Austrian Emma Spitz, who kicked off her 2016 season in style with a two-shot victory at the European Nations Cup (Ladies) in Spain.
Alsuguren said: “Firstly, I would like to congratulate the players selected in the European team. They are all very talented players, and fully deserve their selection. I am extremely honoured and excited to be their Captain, and am looking forward to a great match with the US team at Interlachen this September.”
Participants in the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup will also play a nine-hole ‘Friendship Match’ on September 28 at Hazeltine National Golf Club, in Minnesota, host venue of The Ryder Cup.