Edina, MINN. – The 10th Junior Ryder Cup between the United States and Europe began with a moment of silence at Interlachen Country Club’s No. 1 Tee, in memory of the legendary Arnold Palmer, who passed away yesterday at age 87. With the course’s flags lowered to half-staff, Palmer’s influence could be felt across Interlachen, as he was a six-time U.S. Ryder Cup Player, two-time Captain and an Honorary Member of the European Tour. In true Palmer style, some scintillating golf ensued, as the U.S. and European teams finished the Monday Morning Foursomes tied 3-3.
In the final match of the morning, Italian Emilie Alba Paltrinieri made a short par putt on No. 18—after hitting a 180-yard with a hybrid on her approach within four-feet two shots earlier—to close out a nip and tuck, 1-up win for her and teammate Emma Spitz of Germany, over Americans Alyaa Abdulghany and Lucy Li.
“I was standing over the ball and the wind changed, so I started my routine again and considered changing clubs,” said Paltrinieri. “But then the wind changed back again, so I went with my hybrid, and hit it perfectly. It was really important to finish the foursomes all square.”
The Team Captains recognized the significance of the match, as well.
“I thought this morning went really well,” said U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Captain Jim Remy. “I am certainly happy with a split at 3 and 3. Obviously, we would have preferred it to be 4 and 2, but the European Team hit a great shot at 18, to steal that last hole away from us. When they did that, it changed everything.”
About 15 minutes earlier, Europe’s Adrien Pendaries drilled a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to give him and teammate Johnathan Goth-Rasmussen a dramatic 1-up win over Americans Noah Goodwin and Norman Xiong.
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The Americans were first bit by some unfortunate luck on the hole, as Xiong’s approach shot hit high on the green and rolled all the way off, stopping on the side of a hill.
“I thought it was a great shot,” reasoned Xiong. “It just rolled off the green. It’s golf. It happens.”
However, things would even out, as the next group faced a similar experience. Yet, this time, Europe’s Matias Honkala saw his approach land on the mid-part of the green, only to roll off, too.
Blustery wind gusts up to 30 mph likely had something to do with the wild ride for both teams on No. 18.
Meanwhile, a match that looked like a runaway became a tense competition, as Eugene Hong and Patrick Welch raced to an early 5-up lead. However, things would turn, as Europe’s Falko Hanisch and Matias Honkala mounted a ferocious comeback, with a long chip on No. 15 that turned the seemingly easy point for the U.S. into something a little more interesting.
Still, American Eugene Hong would hit it close on the 18th green with his approach.
“I hit a drive on the right side of the fairway; Eugene hit a pretty great shot – probably the shot of the day, knowing where we were in the match – and we were able to two-putt,” said Welch.