Despite a valiant effort in the singles session, Europe were beaten 15½ -8½ by their United States counterparts in the tenth edition of the Junior Ryder Cup at Interlachen Country Club.
Some early momentum was provided by Kristoffer Reitan, who edged a high-quality encounter with Davis Shore, and Frida Kinhult, who secured a half point to remain unbeaten, but the strength in depth of the US team proved pivotal as they won the final day 8½-3½.
Eugene Hong’s one up victory over Matias Honkala took Captain Jim Remy’s charges past the magic 12 point mark, and continued the United States’ dominance of a competition which started life in 1997.
Late wins for Jonathan Goth-Rasmussen (two up) and Marcus Svensson (3&1) over Wilson Furr and Noah Goodwin respectively were ultimately rendered redundant, as the United States registered their fifth straight victory in the competition.
Remy’s counterpart, Maitena Alsuguren, was naturally disappointed that her team were unable to overturn a 7-5 deficit from the opening day’s play, but was nonetheless delighted with her team’s fighting spirit.
She said: “Even though we lost, I’m still very proud of my team. We needed to get off to a fast start, and whilst Kristoffer and Frida played very well, unfortunately we weren’t able to build on it. But the American team played very well, they showed their quality today and deserved to win.
“It was always going to be difficult, and we really needed every player to play to their maximum. But if your opponent has a great day, there’s not much you can do about it.
“They will learn from the experience, about how to play under pressure and also what it takes to compete at the highest level. I’m sure we will see many of them on the European Tour and the Ladies’ European Tour in the years to come, and I’m also sure we will come back strong in the 2018 Junior Ryder Cup.”
Kinhult, whose brother Marcus competed in the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup, was certainly delighted to have played her part, having contributed two-and-a-half points to Europe’s cause.
She said: “It’s been an amazing experience, I’m so proud of how I fought back today. With six holes left to play, I just told myself that I’d better start doing something. I started making lots of birdie putts, and it’s great to finish the competition unbeaten. We’ve all had such a good time, and I will remember this week for the rest of my life.”
Reitan, who chipped in on the last hole to seal victory in style, echoed the sentiments of his fellow Scandinavian.
He said: “It was a special end to a special week, so I’m really pleased. It was a tough day, I didn’t play my best but I fought so hard and in the end it worked out well. I holed a long putt from off the green on the 16th, then hit a great iron shot into the 17th and chipped in on the last, so it was great to finish strongly and it gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year.”
The 2018 Junior Ryder Cup will be played in Disneyland Paris. The United States have won six times, including the inaugural edition in in 1997. The 2006 contest was halved, with Europe lifting the trophy in 1999, 2002 and 2004.