Sean Keeling and Rocio Tejedo lead the race to qualify for the 2023 European Junior Ryder Cup Team.
A busy three weeks have seen four events completed in which players earned points towards automatic selection for Team Europe.
On the boys’ side, the two biggest individual European amateur events of the year were recently contested, The Amateur Championship in England and the European Amateur Championship in Estonia.
On the girls’ side, The Women’s Amateur Championship in England and the Annika Invitational Europe in Sweden both had many points on offer.
12 junior (U18) players will be chosen for the team that will compete with the USA in Rome from 26 to 28 September ahead of the 44th edition of the Ryder Cup. Half of the players will automatically earn spots on the team through the season-long qualifying ranking while the remaining half will be selected by captain, Stephen Gallacher (SCO).
Rocio Tejedo (ESP) maintained her lead in the girls’ ranking despite not competing internationally in the last few weeks. Having two wins and two top-three finishes in her pocket from the early events, and with each players’ four best scores being counted for the ranking, it is likely the Spaniard has already secured an automatic selection for the team.
Sweden’s Nora Sundberg has held on to second place in the girls’ ranking. The winner of the 2023 Spanish Amateur Championship finished in a tie for 9th after losing in the round of 16 in England, scoring significant points towards the ranking.
Meja Örtengren finished in a tie for 33rd at the Women’s Amateur. The event being the Swede’s fourth counting event this season, the result was enough to jump her into the third and final automatic qualifying spot. Spain’s Andrea Revuelta, who also reach the round of 16 in England, sits just outside one point of Örtengren in fourth.
In the boys’ ranking, two events open to all ages which featured many of the best amateur players in the world meant high-finishes would be hard to come by for the juniors.
Golf Ireland’s Sean Keeling missed the cuts in both England and Estonia despite a 36-hole score of par at The Amateur and a 54-hole score of -6 at the European Amateur. The steady scores earned points nonetheless, helping the 16-year-old move back to the top spot the boys’ ranking. Germany’s Peer Wernicke and Scotland’s Connor Graham sit in second and third positions, both within just a point and a half of Keeling, after both also missing the cuts in England and Estonia.
Lev Grinberg (UKR) is currently the closest challenger to the top-three. The 15-year-old was one of just three junior players to make the cut last week at Pärnu Bay Golf Links. A T31 finish in Estonia has moved him to within half a point of the automatically selected top-three.
Sweden’s Simon Hovdal (currently 9th) was the highest eligible junior finisher at The Amateur Championship, while Denny Kloeth (NED) (currently 16th) achieved the same at the European Amateur Championship. The pair have only competed in three counting events so far this year, so could be players to watch for big jumps in the rankings if they perform will in the next events.
EUROPEAN TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
The stroke play qualifying rounds of the European Team Championships, taking place from 11 to 15 July will be the next opportunity for the juniors to score points. Most of the players will likely be representing their countries in either the European Boys’ or Girls’ Team Championships to be played at Golf Club de Genève (SUI) and Golf d’Hossegor (FRA) respectively.
However, some of the top junior players may get call ups for their countries’ men’s or ladies’ squads instead. The European Amateur and Ladies’ Team Championships, taking place in Belgium and Finland, will also offer points towards the ranking for these players.