U.S. National Junior team defeats Australia in friendly team competition
05 Jul 2024
by United States Golf Association

see also: Blades Brown Rankings

U.S. National Junior team (USGA Photo)
U.S. National Junior team (USGA Photo)

In what was a historic moment for golf in the United States, the U.S. National Junior Team defeated Australia in a friendly, two-day competition at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wis. The match, which featured 12-person teams consisting of some of the world’s top junior golfers, was the first of its kind for the newly developed U.S. National Development Program, an initiative started by the USGA in 2023 to foster future generations of American golf talent.

"I thought the event was great,” said U.S. Head Coach Chris Zambri. “The kids competed hard, which was really important to me that they came out here and cared. I really saw that, and I love that. The course was a great test, and we were fortunate to be able to come play here and grateful to our friends from Australia for making the long trip.”

After the Americans took a 9-3 lead on Tuesday after four-ball and foursomes matches, the format changed to singles matches on Wednesday. Shyla Singh, the 12th-highest-ranked female amateur in Australia, secured a win for the visiting team, with a 6 and 4 victory over Ryleigh Knaub, a rising high school senior from Florida. Rachel Lee also picked up a point for Australia with a 5 and 3 win over Chloe Kovelesky, 17, of Boca Raton, Fla. Lee’s point would prove to be Australia’s last, as the home team would win ten of the 12 singles matches. 

"It was a lot of fun to compete against the Americans and play at such a great course,” said Singh. “It's a great concept that they've introduced and gives us a good chance to compare our games with the top golfers of America. It's been a really great experience and a lot of good memories from it."

Blades Brown, 16, of Nashville, Tenn., who recently made headlines for making the cut in the PGA TOUR’s Myrtle Beach Classic, played solidly all week, winning each of his matches, inclusive of a 3 and 2 singles win on Wednesday over Kayun Mudadana.

"It was a really good match,” said Mudadana. “It was really close until the last three holes. [Blades] is a really good player, and it was good to play with him and against these top players from the U.S."

"Playing with some of my best friends and representing my country is a dream come true,” said Brown.

Scartett Schremmer, 17, of Birmingham, Ala., Tyler Mawhinney, 16, of Fleming Island, Fla., Nikki Oh, 16, of Torrance, Calif., Tyler Watts, 16, of Huntsville, Ala., and Will Hartman, 17, of Marvin, N.C., all also swept their matches at SentryWorld, which was the site of the 2023 U.S. Senior Open and 2019 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships. The final score was 19-5.

The U.S. National Junior Team consists of 18 players, ten girls and eight boys. The program’s elite juniors represent the first of three national teams to be formed, with an Amateur Team to be announced in 2025 followed by a Young Professional Team in 2026. Earlier this year, the USGA awarded more than 70 grants through the USNDP Grant Program, which assists talented golfers and their families with the financial resources needed to pursue a competitive path in the game.

The U.S. National Development Program and its grant program is supported by philanthropic giving and secured resources to fulfill the USGA’s commitment to providing pathways to elite levels of the game, regardless of financial considerations. For more information, visit usga.org/give_usndp.

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