U.S. Takes Commanding Lead in Junior Ryder Cup

By: PGA of America
By: PGA of America

BOWLING GREEN, KY. - The United States Junior Ryder Cup Team came out strong in the morning foursomes at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky., to take an early lead, winning five of six matches and earning a halve in the other. They dominated the afternoon mixed fourball as well and lead the 2008 Junior Ryder Cup 10 ½ to 1 ½.

The United States team was led in the morning foursomes by Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., and Sarah Brown of Philipsburg, N.J., who won their opening match 7 & 6, and Jeffrey Kang of Fullerton, Calif., and Andrew Yun of Chandler, Ariz., who won their match 7 & 5.

Thompson and Brown, who fell behind early in the match, birdied six of their last eight holes to defeat Daisy Nielsen of Strandby, Denmark and Lisa Maguire of Ballyconnell, Ireland in dominant fashion.

"This course is hard and to birdie that many holes, it's really good," said Thompson, winner of the 2007 Junior PGA Championship. "It sure was a fun round."

Brown, who finished in third place at the 2008 Junior PGA Championship, credits their solid play off the tee and spectacular iron play to their success in the match.

"We were both hitting our drives down the middle and were both knocking down pins, so it just round just kept going well," said Brown, who is playing in her first Junior Ryder Cup. "After the first few holes we were down, but we were able to fire ourselves up and then turned it around."

The strong play of the United States Team continued in the afternoon mixed fourball matches, as the United States won five of the six matches.

Highlighting the afternoon matches were Alexis Thompson and Jordan Spieth of Dallas, Texas, who won their match 6 & 5 over Stanislas Gautier of Paris, France and Lisa Maguire.

Spieth and Thompson dominated their match from the beginning. They won five of the first seven holes and never looked back.

Spieth gave all the credit to his playing partner.

"Alexis did everything out there today and she is almost unbeatable," said Spieth, who finished in second place at the 2008 Junior PGA Championship. "This is a great feeling. We expected to play well but the chemistry had to come together and it has so far."

The lone European victory came from Matteo Manassero of Italy and Daisy Nielsen. They defeated Andrew Yun and Erynne Lee of Siverdale, Wash., on the final hole.

U.S. Captain Ken Lindsay was overwhelmed by the play of his team.

"No one could have expected what happened today to happen. I am blown away by how well my team played," said U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Captain Ken Lindsay. "We can't let up though. There is a lot of golf to be played."

European Junior Ryder Cup Captain Gary Stangl knows his team faces an uphill battle tomorrow.

"They blushed us away but we tried really hard," said Stangl, a member of the Austrian National Team from 1995-'99. "We will continue to try hard to make some points tomorrow and see what happens."

The final day of the Junior Ryder Cup will feature 12 singles matches, starting at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Participants in the 2008 Junior Ryder Cup will play a nine-hole "friendship" match Wednesday at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., site of the 2008 Ryder Cup. The matches will feature a mixed four-ball, with the U.S. competing against Europe for the six matches, which will continue to build international friendships.

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