Tommy Horton MBE will lead a team of young stars into battle today with European Captain Gary Stangl, as the seventh Junior Ryder Cup gets underway at The Club at Olde Stone, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The Junior Ryder Cup provides an excellent opportunity for potential future champions to learn their trade. Indeed, Ryder Cup hero Sergio Garcia, played in the junior equivalent back in 1995.

This year, European Captain Gary Stangl’s 12-strong Team includes the Irish golfing sensations, 13-year-old identical twins Lisa and Leona Maguire, Spain’s Anna Arrese, Scotland’s Carly Booth, Kelly Tidy of England and Denmark’s Daisy Nielsen.

The boys half of the team comprises the French duo of Stanislas Gautier and Julien Brun, Germany’s Moritz Lampert, Spain’s Adrian Otaegui, Englishman Chris Lloyd and Italy’s Matteo Manassero.

Horton, renown for his short game finesse, will be vital in helping his fledgling side compete on a course famous for its tricky greens and unforgiving run-offs.

He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for all these young players, something they have never experienced. “Gary (Stangl), Fredrik (Lindgren) and I have been helping them prepare, as I don’t think they have played a golf course like this before. It is a marvelous opportunity and hopefully we can use our collective knowledge to help them out a little.”

European Junior Ryder Cup Captain Gary Stangl is excited to showcase his European players. “They do not have to prove anything, they have played well and are very motivated,” said Stangl, who was a member of the Austrian National Junior Team from 1993-’95, and was a member of the Austrian National Team from 1995-’99.

The Junior Ryder Cup will be played today and tomorrow with a nine-hole Friendship Match scheduled at Valhalla on Wednesday. Valhalla has been recovering from the effects of Hurricane Ike, but with the forecast looking promising, both the Junior Event and the 2008 Ryder Cup look well set to unfold without delay.