Three Things to Know: U.S. National Junior Team match against Australia
30 Jun 2024
by United States Golf Association

see also: Gianna Clemente Rankings

Gianna Clemente (USGA Photo)
Gianna Clemente (USGA Photo)

This week, the USGA’s U.S. National Junior Team will host members of the Australian High-Performance program for a two-day match at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wis., creating the first-of-its-kind friendly competition for the new U.S. National Development Program. Six boys and six girls from each program will compete in the match, which will feature a four-ball and foursomes match on Tuesday and 12 singles match on Wednesday.

Here are three things to know heading into the match: 

It’s About Time

Virtually every country that sends golfers to the Olympics has a national development team to train, develop, and nurture the country’s top youth. Until last year, the USA did not.

But with the USGA’s creation of the U.S. National Development Program, America is now equipped to keep up with its international counterparts and provide coaching, funding, and mentorship to juniors throughout the country.

The 18-person U.S. National Junior Team is just one of several initiatives under the program, which also includes grant and state team programs.

Team Competition Ready

While the U.S. boasts a winning overall record in both the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, Europe has proven to be the stronger side recently, winning five of the last seven Ryder Cup Matches and three consecutive Solheim Cups.

Why has the U.S. struggled in many of these professional competitions? Playing overseas and figuring out foursomes, also known as alternate shots, when two partners compete as a single side by playing one ball in alternating order on each hole.

As part of the U.S. National Junior Team, members will compete more frequently in foursomes and will have the opportunity to travel overseas to experience other styles of golf courses and weather conditions, all for the goal of bringing American golf more trophies and match wins in the future.  

Curtis Cup, Anyone?

On July 10, the first three members of the 2024 USA Curtis Cup team will be decided, as the top three Americans in the World Amateur Golf Ranking® will receive automatic selections.

While 2023 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball champion and 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior runner-up Gianna Clemente, currently ranked 22nd in WAGR ® and the ninth-highest ranked American, won’t be able to climb into the top three prior to the cutoff, this week’s match against Australia is a counting event, eligible for WAGR points.

A good showing heading into a busy summer of amateur events can only bolster the 16-year-old Clemente’s chances to be the youngest USA Curtis Cup competitor since Lucy Li played on the victorious 2018 team at 15 years of age. The 2024 Match against Great Britain and Ireland is scheduled for Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Sunningdale Golf Club in England. Each team is comprised of eight players.

Article courtesy of Julia Pine and the USGA

Latest in 

Amateurgolf.com, Inc.
6965 El Camino Real 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92009

Instagram X Facebook YouTube