The European team for the Junior Ryder Cup was announced today as Captain Stuart Wilson revealed the names of the 12 young amateur stars to take on the USA at The Blairgowrie Golf Club from September 22-23.
Wilson announced his selection at the conclusion of the European Golf Association’s European Young Masters at Hamburger Golf Club in Germany, with the team comprised of four boys under the age of 18, four girls under the age of 18 as well as two under-16 boys and two under-16 girls.
Amateur Champion Bradley Neil will lead the line for the European team after the young Scot was the first name to be announced, in what is a huge boost for the event which takes place at his home club in the Perthshire town of Blairgowrie.
The 18 year old, who last month became the first Scot to win the Amateur Championship since European team Captain Wilson claimed the title in 2004, will be joined in the team by the Ladies British Open Amateur Champion, Denmark’s Emily Pedersen.
Pedersen plays in her second successive Junior Ryder Cup having represented Europe at Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois, where the USA retained the title after a 14½-9½ victory.
Another player returning to the Junior Ryder Cup fold is promising young Italian Renato Paratore, who has been making a name for himself on The European Tour in 2014.
A close friend of Matteo Manassero, Paratore created a stir at least year’s Italian Open when he made the cut, while he continued to defy his amateur status by making it to the weekend at the Open de España last May.
The 17 year old also continued his progress in the non-paid ranks with victory at this year’s Portuguese Amateur Championship followed by the Italian Amateur Stroke Play Championship.
Linnea Strom is the third and final player making a second appearance at the Junior Ryder Cup, having earned her place as a 16 year old at the 2012 edition, and she continues to show signs of being a star in the making, this year, winning the Spanish Ladies Amateur in March while last year making the cut at the Ladies European Tour’s Helsingborg Open.
Markus Kinhult is another future star who has been turning heads at the highest levels of the professional game, having followed up top five finishes at the Portuguese Amateur Championship and the Lytham Trophy with a tied 21st place finish at the Nordea Masters on The European Tour.
Ivan Cantero was also selected after an extremely consistent season in which he won the strokeplay qualifier for the European Boys’ Team Championship before helping Spain to a fifth place finish, while also earning top five finishes at the Spanish Amateur Championship and the Portuguese Amateur Championship.
The other two to make up the under-18 girls are German Girls Open Champion Virginia Elena Carta of Italy and 2014 Curtis Cup player and recently-crowned Helen Holm Scottish Open Strokeplay Champion Annabel Dimmock of England.
Germany had a great week in Hamburg having both winners of the European Young Masters who earned their place on the team, making up two of the four under-16 players to represent Europe in September, with Alexandra Försterling triumphing in the girls’ tournament and Max Schmitt winning the boys’.
Danish International Strokeplay and English U16 (McGregor Trophy) champion John Axelsen of Denmark was the other boy to make it as one of the under 16 selections while France’s Mathilda Cappeliez, who finished as the highest amateur at this year’s Turkish Airlines Open on the Ladies European Tour at the age of 15, was the other under-16 girl to be chosen.
Junior Ryder Cup Captain, Stuart Wilson said: “It is fantastic to have both Men’s & ladies Amateur Champions playing along with other inform players that have been collecting experience at the highest level in both the amateur and professional ranks.
“Although they all have match play experience it is nice having returning players to the team. Having personally experienced the Junior Ryder Cup in Chicago two years ago I know that they will have an unforgettable week made up with great golf, lots of memories and new friendships. Hopefully their selection will be a stepping stone to further success in their golfing careers.”
The Junior Ryder Cup is a biennial contest between Europe and America, and the teams consist of boys and girls under the age of 18. The USA retained the trophy in 2012, winning at Olympia Fields in Chicago, and the Americans are aiming for four wins in a row this year.
Fredrik Lindgren, Director of The Junior Ryder Cup, added: “The Junior Ryder Cup is always a thrilling event which showcases some of the best up and coming international talent. It is a fantastic way to get involved in the whole ethos of sporting excellence and camaraderie that The Ryder Cup represents and we are looking forward to a superb event at Blairgowrie.”
The event is an international showcase of golf’s next generation, and is designed to continue to build international friendships between top junior golfers in the United States and Europe. Notable past players include Rory McIlroy, Matteo Manassero, Suzann Pettersen, Carlota Ciganda and Hunter Mahan.
2014 European Junior Ryder Cup Team:
Mathilda Cappeliez (France)
Alexandra Försterling (Germany)
Virginia Carta (Italy)
Annabel Dimmock (England)
Emily Pedersen (Denmark)
Linea Strom (Sweden)
John Axelsen (Denmark)
Max Schmitt (Germany)
Ivan Cantero (Spain)
Marcus Kinhult (Sweden)
Bradley Neil (Scotland)
Renato Paratore (Italy)