Marcus Kinhult and Linnea Ström arrive at the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup with Youth Olympics team gold medals in their pockets and they will be hoping to bring that Swede success to Scotland as Europe take on the USA this Monday and Tuesday at The Blairgowrie Golf Club.
The European team touched down on Scottish soil for the first time on Friday as they prepare to do battle with their American counter-parts, who landed in the ‘Home of Golf’ as holders of the prestigious trophy.
Kinhult and Ström, who together won the team Youth Olympic golf medal in China last month, are confident that they have a team that can finally wrest back the trophy in Perthshire next week.
Ström is playing in her second Junior Ryder Cup and she feels the team that non-playing Captain Stuart Wilson has assembled is well capable of taking the title.
“It’s really fun to be here,” said the 17 year old. ”I have great memories from when I played two years ago, some great friendships from that and just playing against the Americans, it’s good fun.
“I think we have a really good team here this year and I think it’s great that there are three players that are here for a second time – me, Emily (Pedersen) and Renato (Paratore). It’s fun to play the fourballs and foursomes together with boy-girl and girl-boy. It’s really good for team-building.
“I think it helps that Marcus and I have had some success this year, we feel comfortable together on the course and I think it’s good that we have a few players from the same countries, like Denmark, Italy and Germany. I think that’s good for the team too. I hope now we can win.”
Kinhult, who also claimed silver in the individual event at the Youth Olympics, behind only his team-mate next week, Italian Paratore, is also in ebullient mood ahead of his first Junior Ryder Cup and agrees that the success he and Ström have experienced could be a big advantage for the European team.
“On paper, individually, we have a very strong team and it feels like team spirit is really good too so hopefully now we can play some good golf,” said the 18 year old.
“It’s a great feeling to represent Europe and your country as well and I’m looking forward to the whole week. I’ve spoken to players who have played it before, Linnea is one of them of course, and they told me it’s a lot of fun as well so it’s going to be great.
“I guess it gives us a little bit more confidence, what me and Linnea have achieved together. The Youth Olympics was the first time we played together as a team and it worked out well so I hope it will this time too.
“I think we’re both comfortable with each other and in foursomes our games suited quite well too. She hits it quite far and she can hold a lot of fairways too so that gives me a lot of opportunities with wedges. I don’t hit it that far but she is good with her long irons too so that’s good.
“It’s our turn I hope. I know a few of the boys from the USA team, not personally as such but I played against them a few times, and they are really good.”
Having started the week with a morale-boosting trip to Disneyland Paris before flying to Scotland in a private jet, the duo also feel like the team is gelling very nicely and they cannot wait to get out on the golf course.
“It’s been really fun so far,” said Ström. “Going to Disneyland was great, and I think it’s good when there are some people that you haven’t met before. It’s great to start by doing something fun like that away from the golf course so it’s been great for everyone.
“I don’t know anything about the course, we thought it was a links course and Bradley then told us it wasn’t but I’m looking forward to playing it.
“I think I know almost all of the girls from the American team and I’ve spoken them to a little bit so it will be a really fun week.”
Kinhult said: “It’s always a different feeling to represent a team, normally we just represent ourselves but then other times we get to represent our countries and this time Team Europe so it will be a lot of fun.
“To play the real Ryder Cup in future, that’s the goal of course, that’s what we all want and play for. It will be a really motivational week too, seeing the big professional players, so I’m really looking forward to it.”