U.S. jumps out to early Jr. Ryder Cup lead

Doris Chen and Ginger Howard following their opening-round match at the Junior Ryder Cup.

Doris Chen and Ginger Howard following their opening-round match at the Junior Ryder Cup.

Girls Rankings »

#NameYearStateRating
1Nicole Morales2014NY69.32
2Andrea Lee2016CA69.82
3Bethany Wu2015CA69.83
4Megan Khang2015MA70.01
5Lilia Vu2015CA70.53

Boys Rankings »

#NameYearStateRating
1Scott Scheffler2014TX67.35
2Zecheng Dou2015CA67.84
3Andy Zhang2016FL68.41
4Austin Connelly2015TX68.5
5Brad Dalke2016OK68.54

Two years later, and another Junior Ryder Cup rout is under way. 

Four U.S. players, including Jordan Spieth, won both their matches Monday, and the Americans stormed to a 9-3 lead over the Europeans on a cold, soggy first day at Gleneagles Resort in Perthshire, Scotland. 

photo

Emma Talley during the Junior Ryder Cup.

The U.S. won five of the six foursomes matches in the morning, then extended their advantage by dropping only two mixed four-ball matches in the afternoon. The event concludes Tuesday with 12 singles matches.

“It was a great day,” said U.S. Junior Ryder Cup captain M.G. Orender. “My players did great in some really tough conditions. It was horrible out there. I’m very proud of them.”

Two years ago, the U.S. team defeated the Europeans, 22-2, at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky., a match so one-sided it spurred the Euros to revamp their team selection process. 

This year’s edition isn’t much more competitive. 

Orender paired Spieth and Anthony Paolucci, Golfweek’s No. 1-ranked junior, in the opening match, hoping to set the tone for the event. They cruised to a 5-and-4 victory over Albert Eckhardt and Kristoffer Venture, and the rest of the U.S. team followed suit.  

Emma Talley and Cassy Isagawa won three straight holes late to top Kelly Tidy and Amy Boulden, 3 and 2; Denny McCarthy and U.S. Junior champ Jim Liu rolled to a 2-and-1 victory over Juhana Kukkonen and Thomas Detry; and the teams of Oliver Schniederjans-Justin Thomas and Kristen Park-Alison Lee halved their opening fourball matches. 

In the afternoon mixed fourballs, Spieth and Lee teamed up to post a convincing 3-and-2 victory over Lloyd and Boulden, and Thomas and Talley, two Kentuckians, defeated Lambert and Tidy, 4 and 3. Liu and Chen, the two U.S. Junior champs, and Schniederjans and Ginger Howard each posted afternoon victories. 

“I’m speechless,” European captain Gary Stangl said. “It’s a really disappointing start for us.” 

Information from the European Tour was used in this report.

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