The winning USA Team
EDISON, NJ (September 26, 2017) - The U.S. team entered the second and final day of competition at the inaugural Junior Presidents Cup with a comfortable advantage, leading 9-3 over their International counterparts and needing just three-and-a-half points to clinch victory at Plainfield Country Club.
Before finding out the pairings for Tuesday’s 12-match singles session, Canon Claycomb, a 2020 graduate from Bowling Green, Ky., figured he’d be in the one of the final matches after losing his Monday afternoon foursomes match alongside Turner Hosch.
“I thought I was going to have like a 9 o’clock tee time that didn’t really matter,” Claycomb said.
But U.S. captain David Toms had other plans: he sent Claycomb out in the morning’s second match against Josh Armstrong of Australia. Armstrong had teamed with fellow Aussie Fred Lee to beat Claycomb and Hosch in foursomes, and Claycomb admitted he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
“He told me he’s really confident in my game and loved the way I played, and he put me in the second match because he believed I was going to get one of the three points we needed to win,” Claycomb said. “And that really stuck with me the whole round. I didn’t want to disappoint him.”
He didn’t. Claycomb routed Armstrong, 5 and 4, to give the Americans their first point of the day and help the U.S. capture the first ever Junior Presidents Cup with a 14-10 win.
After his victory, Toms greeted Claycomb with a big hug.
“He told me he knew it was going to happen,” Claycomb said. “I’m going to draw on that for years to come because a major champion believed that I could win.”
Soon after Claycomb’s win, Akshay Bhatia, the 2017 Junior PGA champ from Wake Forest, N.C., wrapped up a 3-0 performance with a 7-and-6 rout of India’s Rayhan Thomas. Then William Mouw, this year’s Western Junior winner, closed out Naraajie Emerald Ramadhan, 6 and 5, to earn his first full point.
With three points on the board, LSU commit Garrett Barber of Stuart, Fla., earned the clincher, beating Lee, 4 and 3. (Barber and Trent Phillips joined Bhatia by going 3-0.)
“We talked about it last night; this is the first one ever and we wanted to make sure the Cup stayed on U.S. soil for the next one,” Barber said. “It was pretty cool to have a putt to clinch it. I couldn’t have imagined a better experience this week.”
All of the 24 competitors arrived by Saturday afternoon. There was a team-building event and dinner at a nearby TopGolf, followed by the two days of competition at Donald Ross-designed Plainfield. On Wednesday, the teams will head to Liberty National to meet the Presidents Cup competitors and have lunch with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. And on Thursday, they’ll have tickets to watch the first day of competition at Liberty National, as well as experience Ellis Island.
Speaking of Nicklaus and Player, both attended Tuesday’s final day of the Junior Presidents Cup, watching the competition from the gallery.
“They’re going to be their stars of the future,” Nicklaus said. “I look at these kids now and I’m sure I’ll see them later on at the Memorial Tournament and other tournaments in the future.”
For the 12 Americans, they’ll surely enjoy much more success after this week. But none of them will ever forget the honor of representing their country and winning the first Junior Presidents Cup.
“It’s just a huge honor,” said Noah Goodwin, the 2017 U.S. Junior champion and a member of last year’s U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team. “We get to start off the history of the Junior Presidents Cup with a win. There’s no greater honor than getting to represent your country, and now I’ve gotten to do it in two different ways. I’ll always cherish this.”
Said Claycomb: “This whole week has been a crazy, awesome experience. Looking back in 20 years this going to be one of the coolest experiences I’ll probably have ever had. It’s been a great week and to win the inaugural Presidents Cup; that’s something nobody can take away from the 12 of us.”
View results for Junior Presidents Cup
ABOUT THE Junior Presidents Cup
The Junior Presidents Cup features two days of
match play with 12 of the best players from the
States and 12 players from the rest of the world
the exception of Europe. The event kicks off Presidents
Cup week, at the end of which the professional teams
compete at the same venue.
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