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Monday, 03 September 2012
Olympia Fields Country Club  (Getty Images)
Olympia Fields Country Club (Getty Images)

The European team for the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup, which takes place at Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois, USA from September 24 – 25, has been finalised.

The team, comprising two under-16 boys, two under-16 girls, four under-18 boys and four under-18 girls, will attempt to regain the trophy from the USA after a 13½ - 10½ defeat at The Gleneagles Hotel in 2010.

The Junior Ryder Cup was formally introduced in 1997, following an exhibition match between teams of boys and girls from Europe and the United States in 1995. It traditionally takes place just before The Ryder Cup.

Spaniard Covadonga Sanjuan earned automatic selection for the 2012 European team after her victory in the European Young Masters at Royal Balaton Golf and Yacht Club in Hungary last month, as did Italy’s Renato Paratore, who won the boys’ competition.

Emily Pedersen of Denmark and Germany’s Dominic Foos, both under-16s, were also chosen by a selection committee comprising European Captain Stuart Wilson, Assistant Captain Kristin Gunhildrud and representatives from the European Golf Association and The European Tour.

The committee were present at a number of key junior events, including the European Boys’ and Girls’ Team Championships, and also took into account performances in national championships plus standings in national and European Amateur Golf Rankings.

Austrian Matthias Schwab, who played on The European Tour as a 15 year old in the 2010 Austrian Golf Open, was selected, and is joined in the boys’ under-18 category by England’s Toby Tree, Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan, who was the youngest player ever to win the Irish Amateur Championship this year, and Sweden’s Victor Tarnstrom.

The girls are represented by Linnea Strom of Sweden, who has dominated junior golf in her country, Quirine Eijkenboom of Germany, Harang Lee from Spain and England’s Bronte Law.

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. The collaboration between PGA professionals and junior organisers at club level and PGAs and governing bodies at a national level help these youngsters develop into Junior Ryder Cup players.

It has been the platform from which successful professional careers have been launched for numerous players. Spaniard Sergio Garcia played in the 1995 exhibition match and four years later was part of the full European Team at The Country Club in Brookline, while Suzann Pettersen played in the Junior Ryder Cup in 1997 and 1999 before becoming Norway’s top female golfer and taking part in six Solheim Cups.

Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy was in the victorious 2004 team, since when he has won two Major Championships and will represent Europe for a second time in The 2012 Ryder Cup. For the Americans, Hunter Mahan, having been in the 1999 junior team, has progressed to become a US PGA Tour winner and was part of the 2008 and 2010 US Ryder Cup teams.

Other notable past Junior Ryder Cup players are Matteo Manassero, who played in 2008 and has since become one of golf’s hottest properties, and Carly Booth, who also played in 2008 and has won twice on the Ladies European Tour this season.

European team:
Quirine Eijkenboom (GER)
Dominic Foos (GER)
Bronte Law (ENG)
Harang Lee (ESP)
Gavin Moynihan (IRL)
Renato Paradore (ITA)
Emily Pedersen (DEN)
Covadonga Sanjuan (ESP)
Matthias Schwab (AUT)
Linnea Strom (SWE)
Victor Tarnstrom (SWE)
Toby Tree (ENG)

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