The U.S. took the lead on a chilly day in Paris (Jr Ryder Cup photo)
PARIS, France (September 24, 2018) - The United States will take a three-point lead into the final session of the Junior Ryder Cup after the first day of the biennial event 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 this morning in the French capital with Foursomes – which saw the Americans take a 4-2 lead – followed by Mixed Fourballs this afternoon.
After a strong start from the Europeans, which saw Austria’s Emma Spitz and Sweden’s Ingrid Lindblad grab the first point of the day 4&3 over Rose Zhang and Alexa Pano, boys Canon Claycomb and Ricky Castillo then earned the first US point of the tournament 4&3 over Spaniards David Puig and Eduard Rousaud Sabate.
The formidable US pairing of Lucy Li and Erica Shepherd grabbed an early 3-1 lead over England’s Annabell Fuller and Sweden’s Amanda Linner, only to see Europe tie it up quickly. But after taking six out of eight holes between the seventh to the 15th, Li and Shepherd claimed a resounding 5&3 victory.
In a toe-to-toe match, American boys Cole Ponich and William Moll were level with English pair Robin "Tiger" Williams and Connor Gough, before winning the final two holes to claim a 2up triumph.
Elsewhere Danish twins Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard halved with Akshay Bhatia and Michael Thorbjornsen, while Italian duo Alessia Nobilio and Emilie Alba Paltrinieri finished all square with Yealimi Noh and Rachel Heck.
During the afternoon Mixed Fourball sessions the Europeans started brightly with a commanding 5&4 victory from Alba-Paltrinieri and Rasmus Hojgaard over Bhatia and Noh.
Following an excellent comeback from Rousaud and Lindblad – who birdied three of their five closing holes to halve with Castillo and Zhang – the Americans fought back with three consecutive victories from Ponich and Pano, Claycomb and Shepherd, plus Moll and Heck.
But it was Europe who had the final word with Williams and Fuller winning the last match of the day 1up – courtesy of a stunning finish of three birdies in three holes.
Tomorrow’s final day singles, featuring all 24 players, will begin at 9.00am local time.
Maïtena Alsuguren, European Captain: “It was a long day for us and all of the team fought so well. Unfortunately we are behind but they were all terrific matches and we finished on a positive which is very important, as we are in a position to be able to fight again.
“We really needed that final point otherwise we would have finished in a very bad way. That last match was so important for our team spirit.
“Tomorrow will be difficult but our guys are ready to go again in the morning. We saw some terrific golf out there today and I know there will be plenty more tomorrow.”
Allen Wronowski, United States Captain: “You can’t ask for any more drama; any more golf than that. The kids on both sides played so well. It was a perfect day.
“If you would tell me that we would have a three-point lead with the golf that’s been played today on both sides, I would certainly take it. As Maj. Dan Rooney, PGA, CEO of Folds of Honor Foundation, likes to say, tomorrow ‘we’re going to check the tires and light the fires.’”
ABOUT THE Junior Ryder Cup
Ryder Cup-style matches between 12-person
junior teams from the United States and Great
Britain & Ireland. Format includes foursomes,
mixed four-ball and singles competition. The
United States Junior Ryder Cup Team consists of
six boys and six girls who are American citizens
and are members of next year's high school
graduating class or younger.
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