Team Celtic Manor win Friendship Bowl

30/09/2010 18:45:35
President Barroso with the Friendship Bowl winning team  (Getty Images)
President Barroso with the Friendship Bowl winning team (Getty Images)

The Friendship Bowl, a nine-hole team event featuring the 24 European and American players from the Junior Ryder Cup, was, fittingly, won by the Celtic Manor Resort team.

Played over The Twenty Ten Course on the eve of The 2010 Ryder Cup, the Friendship Bowl was a celebration of the junior contest, which the USA won 13½-10½ at Gleneagles earlier this week. One girl and one boy each from Europe and the United States made up the six teams, which were named after famous golf clubs in Wales.

The winning team comprised Americans Justin Thomas and Ginger Howard, France’s Manon Mollé and Finland’s Juhana Kukkonen, who came in with a better ball score of 68 in front of the 30,000-strong crowds at The Celtic Manor Resort.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who spoke at the Opening Ceremony, presented the winning team with the trophy. President Barroso said The Ryder Cup had special significance for him and said the 12 European players represented the 12 stars on the European flag.

"It is the one sporting event where Europe is represented by a single team, drawn this year from throughout the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain and Germany," he said. "Here sportsmanship is more important than sport. Here the fans on the fairway are the real mark of success."

“The Ryder Cup matches have come to symbolise the finest elements of match-play golf, where expertise and skill, courage and integrity, passion and dignity are all displayed in equal measures."

Thomas said: "It was an unreal experience. Playing in these events - there is nothing like it."

Howard added: "It was the best experience of my life. I enjoyed the whole thing."

The Friendship Bowl concludes a great week of competition between Europe and the USA. On Monday the Americans led 9-3 after the first two sessions of the Junior Ryder Cup – the foursomes and the mixed fourballs – but Europe fought back in the singles, winning 7½-4½, in a thrilling finish.

The Junior Ryder Cup celebrates the progress and hard work taking place at the grass roots level of golf, which helps talented young players develop into national team amateurs and some even to The Ryder Cup itself – as Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan and Rory McIlroy have done.