Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Palmer Cup 2013 - Rodgers and Rowe represent the Cardinal but wear different colors!

The Enlight Foundation Assistant Coach For Men's Golf, Philip Rowe, writes Daily Updates from Wilmington Country Club, Delaware, venue for the 17th annual...

The Palmer Cup is a Ryder Cup style match that brings together some of the worlds best amateurs who are studying for university degrees. The top 10 Americans will play against their European counterparts later this week with Fourball and Singles matches on Friday June 7th and Singles matches on Saturday June 8th and Sunday June 9th. A total of 30 points are up for grabs in what promises to be a thrilling match. The USA leads the series 8-7-1.

Adding spice to this years event, at least from a Cardinal perspective, is that we have a representative on each team.

Patrick Rodgers (Rising Junior), pictured above, will be playing for Team USA.

Philip Rowe, pictured above, is the Assistant Coach for Team Europe.

During the course of the daily blog I will be able to give more detail upon the venue, cup history and players on both sides. For now you can check out the teams and delve into other information via the Palmer Cup website.

Sunday June 9th - Team USA secure a resounding victory

20.5 - 9.5 Final Score

Photos from all four rounds are now up on the Palmer Cup Website >>

Mr. Arnold Palmer, Wilmington C.C. and the GCAA are owed a huge debt of gratitude for their support and passion that affords student-athletes this great opportunity for international competition. Rendez-vous in 2014 at Walton Heath in Surrey, UK for the next edition.

For the afternoon Singles Match scores click here >>

Just for a brief while early in the afternoon session of singles the scoreboard looked mostly blue and there was a glimmer of a chance that a miracle might happen. That light was snuffed out however within the first two matches when Kevin Phelan had to win the last hole to earn a half point from Bobby Wyatt and then Cory Whitsett, one of the USA's most dominant players of the week, closed out Scott Fernandez bringing up the 15.5 points require to regain the Cup on home soil. Likewise down the order, the Europeans hopes were crumbled by sustained solid play from the American team. Stanford's Patrick Rodgers played an impressively tight game to ensure his team's emphatic victory.

At the closing ceremony, both captains Seawell and Coltart praised players for sportsmanlike way in which the matches were conducted. Team USA member James Erkenbeck of New Mexico was voted recipient of the Michael Carter Award by the Europeans and Team Europe player Pedro Figueiredo was his voted recipient by the Americans.

For the morning Foursome Match scores click here >>

The story of the morning session belonged to an incredible feat of courage for Pedro Figueiredo. There was much doubt as to whether the UCLA senior from Portugal would even play since a freak foot injury saw him rushed to A&E at 6am prior to the teetimes. Adamant not to concede even another half point to the Americans, Pedro teamed up with fellow UCLA senior Pontus Widegren from Sweden to battle hard against Patrick Rodgers and Justin Thomas who were gunning for maximum points in their Palmer Cup campaign. Standing on the 18th green with blood oozing through his tennis shoe

Saturday June 8th - Team USA take a commanding lead after fourball and singles matches

Play resumed at 7.30am from the spot where the rain storm halted it a day prior. Team USA quickly pressed the advantage and red numbers (indicating a Team USA lead) was a trend that was to continue throughout the day.

It has been a long day so I will direct you to the following links to tell the story:

Match synopsis >>

Photos >>

Rising Junior, Patrick Rodgers had a very good day as he teamed up with Justin Thomas for a handsome 5&3 win in the  morning fourball and then closed out Team Europe's highest rank player, Julien Brun from France, 4&3.

Coach Rowe had less fun as he, Captain Coltart and the European Team poured in effort and some grittiness for just the one win and five half points. Team USA was too strong and had the run of the ball for today. Here's hoping for a "Miracle at Medinah" type scenario tomorrow... and then some!

Third Round Foursomes Pairings 
Game 16: Cory Whitsett/Bobby Wyatt, USA vs. Gary Hurley/Kevin Phelan, Europe
Game 17: Patrick Rodgers/Justin Thomas, USA vs. Pedro Figueiredo/Pontus Widegren, Europe
Game 18: Alex Carpenter/Michael Kim, USA vs. Julien Brun/Joel Stalter, Europe
Game 19: Daniel Berger/Sean Dale, USA vs. Sebastian Cappelen/Greg Eason, Europe
Game 20: James Erkenbeck/Michael Weaver, USA vs. Scott Fernandez/Ben Taylor, Europe

livescoring will resume here >>

Friday June 7th - Wash-Out

Disappointment for both teams today since heavy rain made it impossible to play.

Let's hope for better luck tomorrow. Both teams are chomping at the bit to play the match on such a great course. The greenkeepers and staff at Wilmington C.C. must be thanked for all the extra effort they have gone to in the face of the deluge.

The plan is to finish session 1 Fourballs tomorrow morning then jump ahead to session 3 singles in the afternoon leaving session 2 Foursomes and session 4 singles (36 holes) to be played on Sunday.

From 7.30am EST, livescoring will resume here >>

Thursday June 6th - College-Am Day

Let's start with the highlight of the day... The teams were able to meet, chat and have a photo session with Golfing icon Mr. Arnold Palmer.

Team USA:

 Team Europe:

Mr. Palmer's connection with Wilmington Country Club goes back... "Oh let's not talk about that [many years]", he said in the opening ceremonies as the teams, match dignitaries and sponsors were acknowledged. In 1966 he played an exhibition match with Jack Nicklaus over the South Course and many members present remember the day like yesterday!

Once the final national anthem was played by the event's own trumpeter, David Hooten, the crowd went silent... anxious to hear the announcement of the pairings. One could sense the change in physiology along the line of players, each man feeling butterflies in the stomach as the realization that their next shot would count toward either capturing or retaining the Cup! You may be interested in the line-up pairings for tomorrow so here they are:

Game 1: 7:30 am
Sean Dale/Bobby Wyatt, USA vs. Sebastian Cappelen/Pontus Widegren, Europe

Game 2: 7:45 am
Patrick Rodgers/Justin Thomas, USA vs. Greg Eason/Ben Taylor, Europe

Game 3: 8:00 am
Alex Carpenter/Cory Whitsett, USA vs. Julien Brun/Joel Stalter, Europe

Game 4: 8:15 am
Daniel Berger/James Erkenbeck, USA vs. Scott Fernandez/Pedro Figueiredo, Europe

Game 5: 8:30 am
Michael Kim/Michael Weaver, USA vs. Gary Hurley/Kevin Phelan, Europe

Play away please gentlemen!!!

In other news today, Pedro Figueiredo was part of the winning team in the college-am.

Continue to follow live updates, scores and comments via www.palmercup.org , @PalmerCup , @PalmerCupEurope , @AndrewColtart , @jcwellbamagolf

Wednesday June 5th - Practice Day

Wilmington Golf and Country Club [picture of clubhouse] has two courses: the North designed by Dick Wilson and the South designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr. The Palmer Cup matches will be played over the South Course. Take a tour of the course to see the signature course set in beautiful Delaware countryside. The club has hosted multiple USGA Amateur Championships.

Our day commenced with an 8.30am "Caddie Draw" where players were called forward to pick their caddie's name from a hat. All caddie's are fine players in the State of Delaware and members of the junior academy at Wilmington C.C. Next we teed off for the practice rounds. There were apparent differing strategies from team USA and Europe with the former opting for informal matches among themselves whilst the visiting team took a walk of the course taking notes and measuring distances/green slopes. Both teams found the course in pristine condition with well defined fairways, fairly hefty rough and fast sloped greens. It will provide an excellent challenge.

In the early evening there was a Junior Clinic where players demonstrated technique, ball trajectory control, power drives and performed a few trick-shots. A poster signing session (picture) followed before we got suited up for a hosted dinner with the USGA and R&A along with various other dignitaries from the Palmer Cup and golf club hosts. After dinner there was also an opportunity to meet and listen to inspiring stories from Major Dan Rooney of the Folds of Honor Foundation.

All in all it was a long but action packed day. Clinics, media, signing sessions and formal dinners is all part of the training for budding tour professionals and the Palmer Cup players handle it all admirably. Likewise there is a full agenda for tomorrow with a College-Am, Opening Ceremony and reception with Arnold Palmer himself. Those players who attend Universities on the quarter system (like Stanford and UCLA) must really tap into their student-athlete discipline to find time to study for exams or complete papers in amongst the week's program!

The matches are just 24 hours away. Send your messages of support for the teams via @PalmerCup or @PalmerCupEurope !

Tuesday June 4th - Travel Day

All players have arrived and checked into the hotel. We had a very informal cookout / get together by the tennis courts at Wilmington Country Club this evening:

Everyone appeared in great spirits and not least Team USA Head Coach Jay Seawell who's Alabama team claimed the NCAA Golf Championship last weekend. He has three of his Crimson Tide players (Bobby Wyatt, Justin Thomas and Cory Whitsett) playing for him this week.

Patrick's flight was the last to arrive into Philadelphia on either team so I have not yet had a chance to have that first handshake of the week. There are rumors that he may have had a haircut so stay tuned to see how that turned out!http://www.palmercup.org/