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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Americans outclass Europe

on first day of Junior

Ryder Cup Match

Europe were outclassed by the Americans on the first day of the Junior Ryder Cup match at The Club at Olde Stone, Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The United States lead 10 1/2-1 1/2 at the halfway stage of the transatlantic contest between the Europeans who were all under 16 years on January 1 and the Americans for whom 17 years is the age limit.
Why the European authorities agreed to such a mismatch in years - the difference in strength, ability and maturity between 16 and 17 years can be signficiant - is a mystery. Perhaps such a lopside scoreline, if it is maintained through the second-day singles, will force them to think again, just as the American powers-that-be have done to improve their record.
In previous Junior Ryder Cup matches, the Europeans had more than held their own.
It was a long, hard and disappointing day for Great Britain & Ireland's representatives - Carly Booth from Comrie, England's Kelly Tidy and Chris Lloyd and the Irish 13-year-old idential twins, Lisa and Leona Maguire. All of them were on the losing side morning and afternoon.
The US team got into the driving seat in the Monday morning foursomes, winning five of the six matches and halving the other.
The pattern continued in the after mixed four-ball session.
The Junior Ryder Cup match concludes with 12 singles matches.
"They brushed us away but we tried really hard," said Gary Stangl, captain of the European team. "We will continue to try hard to make some points on Tuesday and see what happens."
The United States team was led in the morning foursomes by Alexis Thompson and Sarah Brown who won their opening match 7 and 6, and Jeffrey Kang and Andrew Yun of Chandler, who won their match 7 and 5.
Thompson and Brown, who fell behind early in the match, birdied six of their last eight holes to defeat Daisy Nielsen of Denmark and Lisa Maguire of Ireland.
"This course is hard and to birdie that many holes, it's really good," said Thompson, winner of the 2007 Junior PGA Championship. "It sure was a fun round."
The strong play of the United States Team continued in the afternoon mixed four-ball matches, as the United States won five of the six matches.
The lone European victory came from Matteo Manassero of Italy and Daisy Nielsen. The Danish girl chipped in at the last to defeat Andrew Yun and Erynne Lee on the final hole.
US captain Ken Lindsay was overwhelmed by the play of his team.
"No one could have expected what happened today to happen. I am blown away by how well my team played," he said. "We can't let up though. There is a lot of golf to be played."
The two teams will play a nine-hole "friendship" match on Wednesday at Valhalla Golf Club, the venue for the adult Ryder Cup contest, which begins on Friday.
The US Junior Ryder Cup team has not won since 1997, mainly due to a selection process that failed to include the country’s top junior golfers. The PGA of America altered that selection process a couple years ago, and this year produced a 10-player team that includes the top three boys in the the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, not to mention four of the top 10 on the girls’ side.
The European side selects its team based on the results of one tournament – the European Young Masters – which is for players aged 16 and under.
This year’s US roster features five 17-year-olds, though it was American’s youngest who gave Europe the most trouble. Thirteen-year-old Alexis Thompson, the reigning US girls' champion, did not have to go past the 13th hole morning or afternoon.
She teamed with Sarah Brown in morning foursomes for a 7-and-6 victory over Nielsen and Lisa Maguire. Thompson then paired with Jordan Spieth, who at 15 joins Anthony Paolucci as the youngest on the American boys’ side, to dispose of Stanislas Gautier and Lisa Maguire in the afternoon four-ball session.
Thompson and Brown were two down through three holes but ended up winning nine consecutive holes, making birdies between on six of their last eight.
Thompson will also play Lisa Maguire in Tuesday's singles matches.
Cory Whitsett, Golfweek’s top-ranked junior, and Cameron Peck, ranked No. 2, approached the par-5 18th tee one down in their morning foursomes match against Julien Brun and Adrian Otaegui.
Whitsett responded with a booming 320yd drive down the middle, and Peck followed with a 3-iron that hit the front of the green but rolled off. Whitsett chipped up to 4 feet and Peck tapped in for birdie to halve the match.
“No one could have expected to come away with this many points today,” said U.S. captain Ken Lindsay, a past PGA president. “But we know we still have to play hard tomorrow.”

Day 1 results:

The Club at Olde Stone, Bowling Green, Kentucky
FOURSOMES (5 1/2-1/2)
US names first
Cameron Peck & Cory Whitsett halved with Julien Brun (Fra) & Adrian Otaegui (Spa).
Danielle Frasier & Jennifer Johnson bt Kelly Tidy (Eng) & Leona Maguire (Ire) 3 and 2.
Jeffrey Kang & Andrew Yun bt Chris Lloyd (Eng) & Moritz Lampert (Ger) 7 and 5.
Alexis Thompson & Sarah Brown bt Daisy Nielsen (Den) & Lisa Maguire (Ire) 7 and 6.
Anthony Paolucci & Jordan Spieth bt Stanislas Gautier (Fra) & Matteo Manassero (Ita) 2 holes.
Erynne Lee & Tiffany Lua bt Carly Booth (Sco) & Anna Arrese (Spa) 5 and 3.

Whitsett & Johnson bt Lampert & Tidy 2 and 1.
Peck & Brown bt Lloyd & Leona Maguire 3 and 1.
Yun & Lee lost to Manassero & Nielsen 1 hole.
Spieth & Thompson bt Gautier & Lisa Maguire 6 and 5.
Paolucci & Frasier bt Otaegui & Arrese 5 and 3.
Kang & Lua bt Brun & Booth 5 and 4.

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