Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2023 Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Rome, Italy

The race to qualify for the 2023 European Junior Ryder Cup team is officially underway.

12 spots for junior players (U18) are available in the European team that will take on the USA in Rome from 26 to 28 September ahead of the 44th edition of the Ryder Cup.

Three girls and three boys will be automatically selected for the team through the qualifying ranking, while six more players will be selected by captain, Stephen Gallacher.

The Portuguese International Amateur Championships, contested in recent weeks at Montado Golf Resort, marked the first qualifying events for both boys and girls.

Rocio Tejedo (ESP) made the perfect start to the girls’ qualifying race. The Spanish player claimed the Portuguese International title ahead of a strong field to take an early lead in the ranking.

Despite falling just short in a playoff, Cayetana Fernandez Garcia-Poggio (ESP) remains close behind after earning strong points for 2nd place. The current World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) number-seven is the reigning champion of the next qualifying event, the Spanish International Amateur Championship, which starts at the end of February.

Paula Martin Sampedro claimed the final spot on the podium in an all-Spanish top-three in Portugal, and occupies the last automatic qualifying position in the girls’ ranking. A number of strong players are close behind in the top-10 including WAGR number-17, Meja Örtengren (SWE) who sits in fifth, and WAGR number-14, Helen Briem (GER) who is tied for ninth.

In the boys’ ranking, Ireland’s Sean Keeling leads the way. The 16 year-old performed impressively in Portugal, finishing as top junior (U18) player and third outright on eight-under-par.

Giovanni Binaghi (ITA) and Lev Grinberg (UKR), who are both just 15 years of age, are tied for second position after finishing joint fourth at Montado Resort. The latter earned the spotlight in the world of golf last May when he became the second youngest player to make the cut in a DP World Tour event at the age of just 14. The teenager will be one to watch in the coming events.

Former Jacques Léglise Trophy players for the Continent of Europe, Jorge Siyuan Hao (ESP) and Tim Wiedemeyer (GER), are two more to keep an eye on during the qualifying race. The pair sit tied for eighth position following a solid top-20 finish in Portugal.

Scotland’s Connor Graham, who won The R&A Junior Open and represented Great Britain & Ireland in the Jacques Léglise Trophy last year also had a steady start to the qualifying race with a top-30 finish at Montado Resort.

The next qualifying events for boys and girls are the Spanish International Amateur Championships, which will take place from 28 February to 5 March. These will be followed by the French International Girls’ and Boys’ Championships in April.

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