What is the Junior Ryder Cup?
The Junior Ryder Cup is a tournament where junior golfers under the age of 18 from both Europe and the United States compete as teams. This event is modeled after the adult Ryder Cup and is organized jointly by the PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe.
Meet The Players
The 2023 United States Junior Ryder Cup Team consisted of 12 of the country’s top junior golfers who competed from September 26-28 in Rome, Italy. The U.S. Team, which was seeking its seventh straight victory, featured six boys and six girls who are all members of the high school graduating class of 2024 or younger.
Among the participants this year were Gianna Clemente from Estero, Florida, and Miles Russell from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, both of whom emerged as champions in the 2023 Junior PGA Championship. Additionally, the roster boasts the presence of five individuals who were recognized as members of the 2022 Rolex Junior All-America team.
U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team
Leigh Chien, 17, Irvine, California – Currently No. 8 in the Rolex AJGA rankings, Chien recorded T-3 finishes at the 74th U.S. Girls’ Junior in July and the Fortinet Girls Invitational at Stanford in February. The two-time First-Team Rolex Junior All-American finished T-2 at the Rolex Tournament of Champions in 2022.
Kylie Chong, 17, Torrance, California – The 24th-ranked player in the Rolex AJGA rankings, Chong has collected a trio of top-3 finishes this summer. She won the AJGA Junior at Hot Springs before finishing T-3 at the Polo Golf Junior Classic and most recently recorded a T-2 result at the Junior PGA Championship. Additionally, Chong finished seventh at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship in June.
Gianna Clemente, 15, Estero, Florida – The top-ranked player in the Rolex AJGA rankings, Clemente won the 2023 Junior PGA Championship by three strokes earlier this month. The two-time First-Team Rolex Junior All-American finished T-3 at the 74th U.S. Girls’ Junior in July and won the 2022 The PING Invitational.
Anna Davis, 17, Spring Valley, California – Currently No. 4 in the Rolex AJGA rankings, Davis joins her twin brother, Billy, on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team, and is the lone returning member from the 2021 team. The Auburn University commit boasts wins at the 2023 Jr. Orange Bowl International Golf Championship and 2023 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. The two-time First-Team Rolex Junior All-American also won the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
Ryleigh Knaub, 16, Debary, Florida – The No. 11-ranked player in the Rolex AJGA rankings, Knaub won the Dustin Johnson World Junior in March of this year. She also recorded a pair of top-3 finishes at the Polo Golf Junior Classic (T-3) and the Pete & Alice Dye Junior Invitational (2).
Yana Wilson, 16, Henderson, Nevada – The No. 2-ranked player in the Rolex AJGA rankings, Wilson recently finished T-2 at the 2023 Junior PGA Championship. Earlier this summer, she finished runner-up at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and won the Mizuho Americas Open.
Jackson Byrd, 17, Saint Simons Island, Georgia – The son of five-time PGA Tour winner Jonathan Byrd, Jackson is coming off a runner-up finish at the 2023 Junior PGA Championship. He currently ranks 60th on the Rolex AJGA rankings.
Billy Davis, 17, Spring Valley, California – The sixth-ranked player on the Rolex AJGA rankings, Davis joins his twin sister, Anna, on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team. The Auburn University commit won the 2023 Mayakoba Invitational and is fresh off a tie for second at the 2023 Junior PGA Championship.
Nicholas Gross, 16, Downingtown, Pennsylvania – Currently ranked No. 8 on the Rolex AJGA Rankings and committed to the University of Alabama, Gross won the 2023 AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods. The 2022 First-Team Rolex Junior All-American finished T-3 at the 2023 Polo Golf Junior Classic.
Will Hartman, 17, Marvin, North Carolina – The 19th-ranked junior on the Rolex AJGA rankings, Hartman won the 28th annual Bobby Chapman in October 2022. He finished T-5 at the 2023 Junior PGA Championship and T-3 at the 2023 United States Junior Amateur Championship.
Jay Leng Jr., 17, San Diego, California – A 2022 First-Team Rolex Junior All-American, Leng Jr. currently ranks fourth in the Rolex AJGA rankings. The Stanford University commit won the 2022 PING Invitational and the 2023 Polo Golf Junior Classic and boasts four other top-five finishes since August 2022. He was also a member of the 2018 National Champion (Team California).
Miles Russell, 14, Jacksonville Beach, Florida – Russell currently ranks second in the Rolex AJGA rankings following his seven-shot win at the 2023 Junior PGA Championship. After winning the TaylorMade TP5 Junior All-Star and Moon Golf Junior All-Star in April, he finished as the runner-up at the Team TaylorMade Invitational in May. Russell won the National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship as part of Team North Carolina in 2022.
As the final day singles matches commenced, Team Europe held a commanding six-point advantage, following their dominant performance in the four-ball matches at Golf Nazionale. On Thursday, They totaled seven victories and three ties in 12 singles matches, ultimately achieving a resounding victory with a score of 20 ½ to 9 ½.
Germany’s Helen Briem kickstarted the European team’s momentum with a 2&1 victory over Yana Wilson, and Kris Kim further solidified Europe’s lead by defeating Miles Russell 5&4. Spaniard Andrea Revuelta sank the winning putt that secured a complete victory for Team Europe. This marked the first time Team Europe had won since 2004, where they clinched the trophy on American turf at Westfield Group Country Club in Ohio.
The next Ryder Cup takes place in 2025 at the world-renowned Black Course at Bethpage State Park in New York State.
Source: US Ryder Cup
– Photo Credit: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images –