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Junior Ryder Cup: U.S. player capsules

The 2014 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup will take place Monday-Tuesday at Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland.

The Americans have won the past three Junior Ryder Cups. This year’s team will be led by LSU commit Sam Burns and Stanford commit Andrea Lee. Burns and Lee were the top qualifying players while Gordon Neale, Kristen Gillman and Bethany Wu earned their spots via their finish at the Junior PGA

Brad Dalke, Cameron Young, Austin Connelly, Davis Riley, Sierra Brooks, Amy Lee and Hannah O’Sullivan were captain’s picks.

Here is a closer look at the 12-player U.S. team:

• • •

Sam Burns

Hometown: Shreveport, La.

Age (graduation year): 18 (2015)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 4; WAGR: 22

Career highlights: 2014 Junior PGA Championship, won; 2014 AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions, won; 2014 U.S. Amateur, Round of 32; 2014 Sunnehanna Amateur, runner-up; 2014 AJGA Thunderbird International Junior, third

Buzz: The LSU commit is arguably the hottest player right now in boys junior golf. He advanced to the Round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur shortly after winning the Junior PGA Championship. He has a solid all-around game and his near-upset of top-ranked amateur Ollie Schniederjans at Atlanta Athletic Club shows that he doesn’t get intimidated in match play.

• • •

Austin Connelly

Hometown: Irving, Texas

Age (graduation year): 18 (2015)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 6; WAGR: 43

Career highlights: 2014 AJGA FootJoy Invitational, won; 2014 Jones Cup, runner-up; 2014 Junior PGA Championship, third; 2013 AJGA Junior Players, runner-up; 2013 AJGA Thunderbird International junior, runner-up

Buzz: What Connelly lacks in size, he makes up for in skill. One of the most accurate players in junior golf, Connelly doesn’t miss many greens. He had a breakout performance at this year’s Jones Cup, where he lost in a playoff to Corey Conners. Expect Connelly to make few mistakes.

• • •

Brad Dalke

Hometown: Hobart, Okla.

Age (graduation year): 17 (2016)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 7; WAGR: 75

Career highlights: 2013 AJGA Ping Invitational, won; 2013 AJGA HP Boys Invitational, won; 2011 AJGA Thunderbird International Junior, won; 2014 Junior PGA Championship, third; four-time AJGA Wyndham Cup participant (tied Tiger Woods’ record)

Buzz: Dalke, an Oklahoma commit since the age of 12, has been a big name in junior-golf circles for many years, and now he gets a chance to compete in his first Junior Ryder Cup. Dalke can smash it off the tee, but it’s his improved putting that will be the key in Scotland.

• • •

Gordon Neale

Hometown: Dove Canyon, Calif.

Age (graduation year): 17 (2015)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 41; WAGR: 376

Career highlights: 2014 Junior PGA Championship, runner-up; 2014 AJGA Heather Farr Classic, runner-up; 2014 Callaway Junior World Championships, third

Buzz: Neale’s runner-up finish at the 2014 Junior PGA earned him a spot on this team. An aggressive player, he makes a lot of birdies. He would be a perfect partner for Austin Connelly as they are both close friends.

• • •

Davis Riley

Hometown: Hattiesburg, Miss.

Age (graduation year): 17 (2015)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 8; WAGR: 47

Career highlights: 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur, runner-up; 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur, runner-up; 2014 Terra Cotta Amateur, won

Buzz: Riley’s back-to-back runner-up finishes at the U.S. Junior show just how good of a match-play golfer Riley is. The Alabama commit is a smart player and shouldn’t be affected by the pressure of playing overseas.

• • •

Cameron Young

Hometown: Scarborough, N.Y.

Age (graduation year): 17 (2015)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – N/A; WAGR: 40

Career highlights: 2014 U.S. Amateur, quarterfinals; 2013 AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic, won; 2014 Junior PGA Championship, sixth

Buzz: The Wake Forest commit comes from a good golf background – his dad, David, is a PGA professional at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club and is Cameron’s teacher. He also has the perfect mindset for match play and his results back that up – won Polo Golf Junior Classic and made the quarterfinals of the 2014 U.S. Amateur.

• • •

Sierra Brooks

Hometown: Sorrento, Fla.

Age (graduation year): 16 (2016)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 38; WAGR: 631

Career highlights: 2014 Junior PGA Championship, fifth; 2013 AJGA Girls Championship, won; 2013 AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic, semifinalist; 2014 U.S. Junior World Cup participant

Buzz: Brooks has struggled this past year avoiding big numbers, but that might not matter in match play. The Florida commit is deserving of a spot on the team and has the ability to make birdies in bunches.

• • •

Kristen Gillman

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Age (graduation year): 17 (2016)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 2; WAGR: 32

Career highlights: 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, won; 2014 Junior PGA Championship, won; 2014 U.S. Junior World Cup participant

Buzz: The Alabama commit is on a roll lately, winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur and the Junior PGA. It’s hard to imagine anyone beating her at Blairgowrie, either, as every aspect of her game seems to be firing on all cylinders.

• • •

Amy Lee

Hometown: Brea, Calif.

Age (graduation year): 17 (2015)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 23; WAGR: 195

Career highlights: 2014 AJGA Girls Junior, runner-up; 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, Round of 32, 2014 U.S. Junior World Cup participant; 2013 Junior PGA Championship, won

Buzz: The USC commit won last year’s Junior PGA, but struggled in the event this year. However, she’s still one of the top junior girls in the country and her play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur last month proved that.

• • •

Andrea Lee

Hometown: Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Age (graduation year): 16 (2015)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 1; WAGR: 6

Career highlights: 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, semifinalist; 2014 U.S. Girls Junior Amateur, quarterfinalist; 2014 AJGA Tournament of Champions, won; 2014 AJGA Yani Tseng Invitational, won; 2014 AJGA Thunderbird International Junior, runner-up; 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, T-69

Buzz: Lee, a Stanford commit, finished first in Junior Ryder Cup qualifying, earning one of three automatic spots on the girls’ side. Her resume this year is impressive, and that includes a made cut at the U.S. Women’s Open.

• • •

Hannah O’Sullivan

Hometown: Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Age (graduation year): 16 (2016)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 16; WAGR: 47

Career highlights: 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, semifinalist; 2014 Junior PGA Championship, third; 2014 AJGA Girls Junior, third; 2014 AJGA Heath Farr Classic, runner-up

Buzz: Like Gillman, O’Sullivan is riding a streak of great play into Scotland. She made the semifinals at the U.S. Women’s Amateur and contended at the Junior PGA. The USC commit gives the Trojans two players on this year’s U.S. team along with Amy Lee.

• • •

Bethany Wu

Hometown: Diamond Bar, Calif.

Age (graduation year): 17 (2015)

Ranking: Golfweek/Sagarin – 3; WAGR: 10

Career highlights: 2014 Junior PGA Championship, runner-up; 2014 AJGA Annika Invitational, won; 2013 AJGA Annika Invitational, won; 2014 AJGA Yani Tseng Invitational, runner-up; 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, stroke-play medalist

Buzz: Is there a player in junior golf who has more fun on the course than Wu? The UCLA commit has a great attitude on and off the course, a huge positive in a team setting. Oh, and her game isn’t bad, either.

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