United States wins Junior Ryder Cup over Europe for third straight time

Karen Chung
Getty Images
Karen Chung was one of threee Americans girls to go undefeated in her two matches this week.
By
Randy Stutzman
The PGA of America

Series: PGA Feature

Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | 7:20 p.m.

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. -- The United States, powered by a strong singles performance, captured its third consecutive Junior Ryder Cup, 14 1/2 to 9 1/2, Tuesday afternoon at Olympia Fields Country Club. The U.S. Team, which opened its final session with a two-point advantage, won seven of the 12 singles matches and halved another.

The Junior Ryder Cup, a premier international team match-play competition, features 12 junior golfers from the United States hosting their European counterparts.

JUNIOR RYDER CUP

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The United States now owns a 4-3-1 overall record in the Junior Ryder Cup, and has not lost since 2004 at Westfield Country Club in Westfield Center, Ohio. The matches were halved 6-6 in 2006 at The Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales.

The United States battled to a 7-5 lead after the first day of foursomes and mixed four-balls, then sprinted out in singles Tuesday by winning four of its first five matches. Leading the way were Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., with a 6 and 5 conquest of Linnea Ström of Sweden; and Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J., who downed Germany's Quirine Eijkenboom, 4 and 2.

U.S. Captain Roger Warren was overwhelmed by the entire experience of serving as team leader and came away impressed with the performance of both teams.

"We are really fortunate to have won, because these teams are so evenly matched and each have such a wealth of talent," said Warren, who was the 34th president of The PGA of America. "We came because we wanted to compete and win. But in the end it was all about friendships and goodwill between the teams that made this a truly special experience."

Alison Lee, who finished runner-up in the 2012 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship, clinched the winning point for the United States team.

"I had to come out this morning and finish my four-ball match so that helped me warm up a bit," said Lee. "I felt really comfortable all day and to make that clinching point was so awesome. It feels great to know that I helped the team."

Karen Chung, Esther Lee of Los Alamitos, Calif., and Casie Cathrea of Livermore, Calif., won all three of their matches at the Junior Ryder Cup.

"It's exciting to know that I was able to close out my first Junior Ryder Cup with three points and winning all three matches," said Cathrea. "This whole experience has been incredible and it's not over yet. We still get to play Medinah tomorrow and that should be great, too."

Both teams will play a "Friendship" Match" Wednesday at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, site of the 39th Ryder Cup.

The "Friendship" Match will feature a combined mixed four-ball, with six groupings of four players that includes one girl and one boy from both Europe and the United States. The teams will play a composite course of 10 total holes, blending both front-nine and back-nine holes. Play will begin on the first hole.

The European Team was led in the singles matches by Ireland's Gavin Moynihan, who posted a 4 and 3 victory over Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y.

European Captain Stuart Wilson enjoyed his experience as Captain and is looking forward to being Captain again in 2014 when the Junior Ryder Cup visits Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland.

"The players really enjoyed themselves this week and we battled all the way down to the final match," said Wilson. "It will be an honor to Captain the team again in 2014 when we go to Scotland and we will hope for a better result."