Friday, June 24, 2016

Links golf gives Europeans an advantage at Palmer Cup, starting at Formby today

Palmer Cup
Matthias Schwab enters the Palmer Cup as one of a few European players with experience playing links golf. (Getty Images)
Europe has the advantage heading into the Arnold Palmer Cup at Formby (England) Golf Club, despite the United States’ 10-8-1 lead in the series among top college players.
Europe has home-course advantage since Formby is predominantly a links course. The home side features a number of players with recent successful links experience, and three members of the European team played in last year’s match: Adrian Meronk, Matthias Schwab and Mathias Eggenberger.
Schwab, the world’s No. 7-ranked amateur, came close to winning the British Amateur four years ago. The Vanderbilt senior from Rohrmoos, Austria, lost in the final to Northern Ireland’s Alan Dunbar at Royal Troon.
Meronk, a Pole who recently graduated from East Tennessee State, arrives at Formby fresh from reaching the semifinal of last week’s British Amateur at Royal Porthcawl. He lost to eventual winner Scott Gregory.
Antoine Rozner of France was third leading qualifier at Royal Porthcawl. The recent Missouri-Kansas City graduate lost in the second round.
Countryman Robin Sciot-Siegrist of Louisville reached the fourth round but was a quarter-finalist at Carnoustie last year.
Welshman David Boote didn’t play in this year’s British Amateur because he was attending his Stanford graduation ceremony. However, the reigning Welsh Amateur champion was weaned on links golf.
Sam Horsfield is the highest-ranked player in the field, at No. 3 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Horsfield qualified for the U.S. Open last week but missed the cut. However, the Englishman, a sophomore at Florida, has no real experience with links golf because he grew up in Florida.
The U.S. team will take some beating. Charlie Danielson is the highest-ranked player on the visiting team, at World No. 6. The recent Illinois alumnus was the fourth-best player in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.
Michael Johnson of Auburn clocks in as the second best player on the U.S. team at World No. 17 and ninth on the Golfweek/Sagarins.
Rico Hoey brings experience to the U.S. team since he played in the 2014 match. The USC senior won one match, lost two and halved one as the U.S. won, 18-12, at Rich Harvest Farms near Chicago. He is the only player on the U.S side with Arnold Palmer Cup experience.
Will Zalatoris brings a wealth of match-play experience from winning the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur. Zalatoris, a Wake Forest junior, is the world’s 63rd-best amateur.
The competition starts today (Friday)  with three foursomes and three four-ball matches. On Saturday and Sunday, the two teams will play singles.



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