The United States secured their sixth successive victory in the Junior Ryder Cup with a hard-fought 12 ½ to 11 ½ win over Europe on an enthralling final day at Golf Disneyland, in Paris.
The two-day tournament, which comprises of two teams of 12 of the best male and female junior players from Europe and the United States, began yesterday morning in the French capital with Foursomes, which saw the Americans take a 4 to 2 lead, followed by Mixed Fourballs in the afternoon – where the US side extended their advantage to 7 ½ to 4 ½.
Entering the final day Singles with a three-point cushion, the Americans made the perfect start when Lucy Li overcame Sweden’s Amanda Linner 4&3 in the opening match.
Europe rallied back though, with Danish twins Nicolai Hojgaard and Rasmus Hojgaard winning back-to-back matches to take Europe to within two points of their rivals.
The United States’ Yealimi Noh immediately struck back with a 3&2 triumph over Austria’s Emma Spitz, and after Rose Zhang birdied her final two holes to halve against Sweden’s Ingrid Lindblad the Americans just needed two points from seven matches to retain the title they won at Interlachen Country Club by 15½ to 8½ two years ago.
Despite a valiant effort from the European team, who took an impressive 4 ½ points from the remaining seven Singles matches, it was the US side who were triumphant once again with victories from Ricky Castillo and Michael Thorbjornsen, followed by a half point from Rachel Heck which clinched a sixth straight outright win.
Europe’s commendable effort in the Singles, which saw the team win by seven points to five, was made all the more emotional after European Captain Maïtena Alsuguren withdrew from the event last night following the death of her father.
Vice-Captain Richard Heath, who stepped in to lead the side today, said: “We enjoyed ourselves and it was a great week. Everyone expects the Junior Ryder Cup to be something special and it really proved to be that this year.
“The players have been really enthusiastic, they have been doing everything right and we really tried to go after the Americans today – I am really proud of how they played.
“I feel for our team as they wanted to win this for their Captain. It’s very difficult for us as we wanted to do this for Maïtena but I think she will really appreciate the effort the team put in for her today. We can’t imagine how difficult a time it is for her at the moment and I know she will be very proud of what this team did today.”
Winning Captain Allen Wronowski said: “I feel so proud of this group of people. We buckled down and won on a tough final day. Europe had no stop, they’re great players and it went down to every match and it was very exciting. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone of these players.
“The opportunity to not only experience a great country, different foods, and a different culture has been priceless. These are memories that these players will take with them for the rest of their lives.”
United States 12 ½ - Europe 11 ½
Day One Morning Foursomes
Match 1 - Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri/Alessia Nobilio (EUR) Halved Yealimi Noh/Rachel Heck (USA)
Match 2 — Nicolai Hojgaard/Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) Halved Akshay Bhatia/Michael Thorbjornsen (USA)
Match 3 – Emma Spitz/Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) 4&3 over Rose Zhang/Alexa Pano (USA)
Match 4 – Canon Claycomb/Ricky Castillo (USA) 4&3 over David Puig/Eduard Rousaud Sabate (EUR)
Match 5 – Lucy Li/Erica Shepherd (USA) 5&3 over Annabell Fuller/Amanda Linner (EUR)
Match 6 – William Moll/Cole Ponich (USA) 2up over Conor Gough/Robin Tiger Williams (EUR)
Day One Afternoon Mixed Fourballs
Match 1 – William Moll/Rachel Heck (USA) 2&1 over Nicolai Hojgaard/Alessia Nobilio (EUR)
Match 2 — Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri/Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) 5&4 over Akshay Bhatia/Yealimi Noh (USA)
Match 3 – Eduard Rousaud Sabate/Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) Halved Ricky Castillo/Rose Zhang (USA)
Match 4 – Cole Ponich/Alexa Pano (USA) 2&1 over David Puig/Emma Spitz (EUR)
Match 5 – Robin Williams/Annabell Fuller (EUR) 1up over Micahel Thorbjornsen/Lucy Li (USA)
Match 6 – Conor Claycomb/Erica Shepherd (EUR) 5&3 over Conor Gough/Amanda Linner (EUR)
Day Two Singles
Match 1 - Lucy Li (USA) 4&3 over Amanda Linner (EUR)
Match 2 - Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) 1up over William Moll (USA)
Match 3 - Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) Halved Rose Zhang (USA)
Match 4 - Nicolai Hojgaard (EUR) 4&2 over Canon Claycomb (USA)
Match 5 - Yealimi Noh (USA) 3&2 over Emma Spitz (EUR)
Match 6 - Ricky Castillo (USA) 3&1 over Eduard Rousaud Sabate (EUR)
Match 7 - Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri (EUR) 2up over Erica Shepherd (USA)
Match 8 - Michael Thorbjornsen (USA) 2up over David Puig (EUR)
Match 9 - Alessia Nobilio (EUR) 2&1 over Alexa Pano (USA)
Match 10 - Robin Williams (EUR) 2&1 over Cole Ponich (USA)
Match 11 - Annabell Fuller (EUR) Halved Rachel Heck (USA)
Match 12 - Conor Gough (EUR) 1up over Akshay Bhatia (USA)