European Junior Ryder Cup Captain Stephen Gallacher has unveiled his 12-strong team to take on the United States in Rome from September 26-28.
The six automatic qualifiers comprise three boys – Kris Kim (Eng), Sean Keeling (Ire) and Peer Wernicke (Ger) – and three girls – Rocio Tejedo (Spn), Meja Örtengren (Swe) and Helen Briem (Ger). The automatic qualifiers earned their place on the European Junior Ryder Cup team through a season-long ranking system which was organised by the European Golf Association.
Six players were then selected by Gallacher: Connor Graham (Sco), Lev Grinberg (Ukr) and Giovanni Binaghi (It) for the boys, while Nora Sundberg (Swe), Andrea Revuelta Goicoechea (Spn) and Francesca Fiorellini (It) were selected for the girls.
Gallacher said: “I would like to congratulate the players selected to represent Europe in the 2023 Junior Ryder Cup. They have all performed brilliantly over the past year and their selection is fully justified. I’ve been to several of the qualification events this year and I’ve been blown away by the standard of golf on show. We’ve got a very strong team and it is going to be a fiercely contested tournament against the United States. It is a tremendous honour to be their Captain and I am looking forward to working with and showcasing the most exciting future talent in Europe. We are relishing the prospect of taking on the United States in Rome and playing the final day single matches at Marco Simone will be a memorable experience for both sets of players.”
Kim, from Surrey, winner of the recent 96th Boys’ Amateur Championship at Ganton, topped the male Junior Ryder Cup Order of Merit to secure his place in Rome, and he will be joined by Keeling who finished second on the rankings. Keeling finished third at the Portuguese International Amateur Championship, before reaching the third round of matches in the Spanish Amateur Championship. The third and final automatic qualification spot was taken by Wernicke after an impressive campaign which included a third place finish at the Spanish International Amateur and a runner-up finish at the German Boys Open.
For the girls, Tejedo topped the Order of Merit thanks to a sensational season, which included two victories at the Portuguese International Ladies’ Amateur Championship and German Girls Open. Tejedo also won the European Girls’ Team Championship with Spain, in addition to third place finishes at the Spanish International Amateur Championship and French International Girls Championship.
Tejedo, currently sitting third in the European Golf Rankings and 37th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, will be joined in Rome by her fellow automatic qualifiers, Örtengren and Briem. Örtengren has tasted success twice in 2023, firstly winning the French International Girls Championship before adding the European Ladies’ Team Championship in Finland, whilst Briem became the first German to win The R&A Girls’ Amateur Championship in its 104-year history to secure the final automatic qualification spot.
Gallacher then selected the talented trio of Graham – who is also playing in next month’s Walker Cup – Grinberg and Binaghi.
Grinberg, at the 2022 Soudal Open in Belgium, became the second-youngest player to make a cut in the DP World Tour’s history at the age of 14.
He also picked Sundberg who won the Spanish International Amateur Championship and the stroke play qualifying at the European Girls’ Team Championship earlier this year; Goicoechea, who finished second in the French International Girls Championship; and Fiorellini, meaning there will be two Italians taking part in the Junior Ryder Cup on the eve of the country hosting the Ryder Cup itself for the first time.
The first two days of the Junior Ryder Cup will be played at Golf Nazionale before the decisive singles matches are held at 2023 Ryder Cup host venue Marco Simone Golf & Country Club on the eve of the 44th edition of the biennial contest between Europe and the United States.
First played in 1997, the current match standings in the Junior Ryder Cup are 7-4 to the USA, with the American team having won the last six editions. The 2021 renewal was cancelled due to the pandemic, with the last match having being played in Paris in 2018, when USA won 12.5-11.5.