PARIS, France – The 11th Junior Ryder Cup will kick off on Monday at Golf Disneyland with a match that is expected to be exciting and hard fought between the best junior players from the United States and Europe.
The teams participated in the Opening Ceremonies at Disneyland Paris, followed by a lively gala where pairings for Morning Fourballs were announced by Team Captains Allen Wronowski and Maïtena Alsuguren.
11th Junior Ryder Cup Day 1 Morning Fourballs Pairings
(Matches begin at 8:30A GMT+2/2:30A EDT in 10-minute intervals)
Alessia Nobilio & Emilie Alba Paltrinieri vs Yealimi Noh & Rachel Heck
Nicolai & Rasmus Hojgaard vs Akshay Bhatia & Michael Thorbjornsen
Ingrid Lindblad & Emma Spitz vs Alexa Pano & Rose Zhang
David Puig & Eduard Rousaud Sabate vs Canon Claycomb & Ricky Castillo
Amanda Linner & Annabell Fuller vs Lucy Li & Erica Shepherd
Conor Gough & Robin Williams vs William Moll & Cole Ponich
Junior Ryder Cup Schedule
(all times GMT+2/EDT is 6 hours behind)
Monday, Sept. 24 8:30 a.m. Session One – Foursomes
Monday, Sept. 24 1:20 p.m. Session Two – Mixed Fourball
Tuesday, Sept. 25 9:00 a.m. Session Three – Singles
Tuesday, Sept. 25 3:30 p.m. Trophy Presentation
Wednesday, Sept. 26 3:00 p.m. GolfSixes Match
The 2018 United States Junior Ryder Cup Team, which features 12 of the country's top junior golfers, will face Europe for the 11th Junior Ryder Cup at Disneyland Paris, Sept. 24-25. Captained by PGA Past President Allen Wronowski, PGA, the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team will feature six boys and six girls who are U.S. citizens and members of the high school graduating class of 2019, or younger.
Among the Junior Ryder Cup alumni are major champions, PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players, Ryder Cup Team Members and Solheim Cup Team Members, including: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Hunter Mahan, Tony Finau, Lexi Thompson, Alison Lee and Brittany Altomare of the United States; and Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Nicolas Colsaerts, Suzann Pettersen, Emily Pedersen and Carlota Ciganda of Europe.
A total of 5 players competing in the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National later this week are Junior Ryder Cup Alumni – Spieth, Thomas and Finau (U.S.); and McIlroy and Garcia (Europe). Garcia played in an exhibition in 1995 that served as the precursor to the Junior Ryder Cup.
The American Junior Ryder Cup Team—which is vying for its sixth straight Junior Ryder Cup victory—features 2017 and 2018 Boys Junior PGA Champion Akshay Bhatia of North Carolina; as well as Californians Lucy Li, Rose Zhang and Yealimi Noh, who won the last three Girls Junior PGA Championships, respectively.
Joining them on the team are Kentucky's Canon Claycomb, California's Ricky Castillo, Texas' William Moll, Utah's Cole Ponich, Massachusetts' Michael Thorbjornsen, Tennessee's Rachel Heck, Indiana's Erica Shepherd and Florida's Alexa Pano.
“We are fired up and ready," said Wronowski. "The team have been hitting some great shots in the practice round and I have seen so much already not just in their play but in their chemistry too. It’s a unique experience to be able to work with these young men and women who are so talented and are already used to high level competition.”
The U.S. Team features the No. 1 ranked (by Golfweek) Boys and Girls players in Akshay Bhatia and Lucy Li. The team also has the Nos. 3, 5, 6, 10, and 17th ranked girls players in Noh, Shepherd, Heck, Pano and Zhang; and the Nos. 3, 9, 13 and 16th ranked boys players in Castillo, Thorbjornsen, Moll and Claycomb. All six girls are ranked in the Top 20…All six boys are ranked in Top 50 (5 of 6 boys ranked in Top 20).
“We only have one repeat Junior Ryder Cup player (Lucy Li),” added Wronowski. “For many of them, it’s their first time across the pond, and to come to a magical place like Disney is very special – they have done a great job here.”
Last week in France, Rachel Heck, 16 of Memphis, Tennessee, was the only amateur to make the cut at the 2018 Evian Championship, an LPGA major (T-44). She also made the cut at the 2017 U.S. Women's Open (T-33).
The 2018 European Junior Ryder Cup Team, led by returning Captain Maïtena Alsuguren, features two players who played on their 2016 Team in Austria’s Emma Spitz, 18, and Italy’s Emilie Alba Paltrinieri, 16. Europe’s team also includes Identical twins in Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard, both 17, of Denmark, as well as: Spain’s David Puig, 17, and Eduard Rousaud Sabate, 18; England’s Conor Gough, 15, Robin Williams, 16, and Annabell Fuller, 16; Italy’s Alessia Nobilio, 17; and Sweden’s Amanda Linner, 17, and Ingrid Lindblad, 18.
“The team are looking really strong and I think we are in store for some great matches,” said Alsuguren. “The build up at Disney has been very fun, and it is now great to focus on the matches ahead. Our team is ready to fight, and I will not have to push them too much as they are all raring to go.”
The idea for the Junior Ryder Cup came about in 1995, when a team of Europeans played an informal exhibition match against the Central New York PGA Section and area juniors. Sergio Garcia represented Europe in this match. Two years later, the Junior Ryder Cup was formally introduced as an event in its own right, while played at Alcaidesa Links Golf Course, in Cadiz, Spain, and won by America, 9-7.
The United States captured the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup at Interlachen Country Club in Minnesota, 15 1/2 to 8 1/2. A total of 10 players from the 2016 U.S. team are slated to be on NCAA Division I college golf rosters for the 2018-19 school year. Norman Xiong, who received the Jack Nicklaus Award as 2018 NCAA Division I National Player of the Year, just turned pro.
GolfSixes at the Ryder Cup featuring Junior Ryder Cup teams
The GolfSixes match is an exhibition event which will feature the European and US teams from the 2018 Junior Ryder Cup Wednesday at Le Golf National, site of the 2018 Ryder Cup. The matches are played over six holes (1, 2, 15, 16, 17, 18), in a Mixed Greensomes Match Play format. Each hole won is worth a point and the pairing with the most points after six holes wins the match. The team with most matches won, wins the GolfSixes at the Ryder Cup. Total number of holes won will decide the winner in the event of a draw.
2018 Junior Ryder Cup Teams:
Akshay Bhatia, 16, Wake Forest, North Carolina
Canon Claycomb, 16, Bowling Green, Kentucky
Michael Thorbjornsen, 16, Wellesley, Massachusetts
Ricky Castillo, 17, Yorba Linda, California
William Moll, 17, Houston, Texas
Cole Ponich, 18, Farmington, Utah
Lucy Li, 15, Redwood Shores, California
Yealimi Noh, 16, Concord, California
Rose Zhang, 15, Irvine, California
Rachel Heck, 16, Memphis, Tennessee
Erica Shepherd, 17, Greenwood, Indiana
Alexa Pano, 14, Lake Worth, Florida
Nicolai Hojgaard, 17, Denmark
Rasmus Hojgaard, 17, Denmark
David Puig, 16, Spain
Eduard Rousaud Sabate, 18, Spain
Conor Gough, 16, England
Robin Williams, 16, England
Emma Spitz, 18, Austria
Emilie Alba Paltrinieri, 17, Italy
Alessia Nobilio, 17, Italy
Annabell Fuller, 16, England
Amanda Linner, 17, Sweden
Ingrid Lindblad, 18, Sweden