On the eve of the tenth edition of the Junior Ryder Cup at Interlachen Country Club, members of the European team have given their thoughts on what it will mean to them to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia…
Adrien Pendaries (France): “It was pure excitement when I found out I’d made the team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I can’t wait to get started. Representing your country is one thing, but to represent your continent is another. To be considered one of the six best players in Europe is quite an honour, and for me it’s the biggest team event you can play as an amateur. You only have to look at some of the players who have competed in the Junior Ryder Cup in the past to see what a big deal it is.”
Pauline Roussin-Bouchard (France): “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I was in the team, it was a real ‘Oh my God’ moment! At the start of the year my main aim was to get into the team, so to get the call was amazing. It was so important to me because so many great players have come through the Junior Ryder Cup, so to join them is a real honour. It’s a great opportunity to gain experience, and I’m looking forward to being part of the team.”
Marcus Svensson (Sweden): “Playing in competitions like the Junior Ryder Cup is the main reason why we work so hard and practice for so many hours. I played a lot of amateur golf with Marcus Kinhult, who is now on the European Tour, and he told me that playing the Junior Ryder Cup was one of the best experiences of his amateur career. I love match play, it really gets my adrenaline going and I play better when I’m excited and motivated. You’re not playing for yourself, you’re playing for your team-mates, your captain and your continent, so there’s a lot of pressure and I’m hoping it brings out the best in me.”
Frida Kinhult (Sweden): “I just started crying when I got the call to say I was in the team. My brother [Marcus Kinhult] has spoken to me a lot about the Junior Ryder Cup, which got me excited about it. It’s the biggest tournament I’ve ever played in, so I’m sure I will be a little nervous but I’m sure that once I get out onto the course, I’ll be fine. I love the course here, it’s tough and the greens are very tricky, so I know I’m going to have to play well to score some points this week.”
Kristoffer Reitan (Norway): I’ve been dreaming about playing in the Junior Ryder Cup ever since Kristoffer Ventura qualified for the team in Wales in 2010. It’s a real privilege and I’m honoured to be part of the team. To line up with the best players from your continent is special, and to win it would be an amazing achievement. I played a lot of football growing up and I love being part of a team, we don’t get to do it that often in golf so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Emilie Alba Paltrinieri (Italy): I was the happiest person on the planet when I found out I was on the team. To be thought of as one of the best players in Europe and to get the chance to represent your continent is a great feeling. Hopefully I can reach the same level as some of the great players who have competed in the Junior Ryder Cup in the past. The tournament helped them gain experience, and I hope it will be a good opportunity for me to learn and improve as a player. If I can handle the pressure of the Junior Ryder Cup, it will be a big boost for because it’s the biggest tournament you can play in as an amateur.