Senior staff writer
Sometimes dreams come true, especially for Center Grove High School senior Erica Shepherd, a member of the USA golf team that won the 11th Junior Ryder Cup championship two weeks ago in Paris. The left-handed golfer from Greenwood won two matches in mixed four-ball play for the United States, which narrowly won the championship over Europe, 12.5-to-11.5, for the sixth consecutive time. Shepherd, 17, and Lucy Li, Redwood Shores, Calif., defeated Europeans Annabell Fuller and Amanda Linner in a roller-coaster match, 5-and-3.
The American duo held a 3-1 lead early, but the Europeans tied it after the 10th hole. However, Shepherd prevailed by regaining the lead by five strokes after 15 holes for the win. In the afternoon round, Shepherd and Canon Claycomb, Bowling Green, Ky., defeated Conor Gough and Linner, also 5-and-3.
Shepherd, Li, Yealimi Noh and Rose Zhang of California, Rachel Heck of Tennessee and Alexa Pano of Florida were the girls who represented the U.S. with six junior male golfers. In singles competition Sept. 25, Shepherd fell to Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri, 2-up.
The junior golfers were divided into two teams Sept. 26 for a festive exhibition, GolfSixes, at Le Golf National, site of the Ryder Cup. Shepherd and Gough defeated Claycomb and Linner in the sixhole exhibition. Shepherd tied for second place Monday in the PING Invitational in Stillwater, Okla., with a three-day total of 222, one stroke behind champion Rose Zhang. (Editor’s note: PGA of America contributed to this article.)