USA beat Europe 19.5 – 10.5 to win the Arnold Palmer Cup (APC) at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
Team USA (Photo: @GolfChannel)
The APC is a team golf competition played annually between American and European college golfers. USA now lead the all-time match series W11 – L9 – H1.
The 2017 match was clearly lost by Europe on Day 2 when USA managed to win the Singles 9.5 – 0.5. The Day 1 Foursomes / Fourballs and Day 3 Singles were both halved 5.0 – 5.0
In a Walker Cup year the APC represents an interesting ‘warm up’ for the main event.
Whilst I believe the Great Britain and Ireland (GB&I) team will be very different to Europe’s in September the USA team should prove to be fairly representative. I expect at least six of the USA’s APC team to be in their Walker Cup team.
The European APC team contained 6 GB&I players – Harry ELLIS (ENG), Rory FRANSSEN (SCO), Stuart GREHAN (IRE), Harry HALL (ENG), Richard MANSELL (ENG) and David WICKS (ENG).
2) Stating the obvious USA will be formidable opponents in Los Angeles, playing at home on a parkland course. Their Walker cup team, even allowing for the inclusion of one or two mid-amateurs, should also be stronger than their Arnold Palmer Cup one. For example Braden Thornberry, the NCAA Division I Champion, didn’t play; he was busy finishing tied 4th at the Fed Ex St Jude Classic on the PGA Tour.
Here is the full individual performance analysis that I produced for the 2017 APC match: –
As can be seen from the above table Richard MANSELL did the best out of the GB&I group, halving a fourball on Day 1 and winning his second Singles game.
Daniel SUTTON – GS 225th (72.78) / SPWAR 305th (38th)
In Division II GB&I had two players in the top 25 of the GolfStat standings: –
Richard MANSELL – GS 4th (71.01) / SPWAR 371 (40th)
Sam BROADHURST – GS 21st (72.08) / SPWAR 1361 (154th)
Harry Hall (Photo: UNLV Men’s Golf)
If one looks at the GB&I SPWAR positions alone, which fully reflect US College performances, then clearly Paul MCBRIDE and Harry HALL are right in the mix with David WICKS, and to a lesser degree Ryan LUMSDEN and Harry ELLIS, also knocking on the door.
The reality is I am not sure any of our US College players would make the team if I had to be pick it today. Perhaps Harry HALL would just sneak in but it would be close.
Certainly to my eyes all five of the above players could do with another ‘result’ or two in the coming weeks to draw the selectors towards them.
However, a possible twist to this story comes next week in the form of the Arnold Palmer Cup. This match between College players from the United States and Europe is being played at the Atlantic Athletic Club.
As a result of their performances this year Harry ELLIS, Rory FRANSSEN, Harry HALL, Richard MANSELL and David WICKS have all been selected for the European team. Stuart GREHAN, who is studying at Maynooth University in Ireland, is also playing for Europe.
The United States Arnold Palmer Cup team probably contains 6 or possibly 7 of their likely Walker Cup team so if one or more of the GB&I players in Europe’s team can deliver a standout performance it will undoubtedly raise their profiles.
There can be no better way to show you belong in the GB&I Walker Cup team than by delivering in what will effectively be a dress rehearsal for it.
What ever happens with the Walker Cup team in the coming months all of these lads have enjoyed good seasons over in America and have clearly shown they can compete at the highest level.
Appendix 1 – Additional Leading Division I Player Notes
Harry HALL (UNLV, Sophomore)
– 2016/17 stats: 14 events, 43 rounds (low 65), T2nd best finish, 71.63 average score.
– Harry led the way for GB&I in the 2016/17 Division I College season.
– His UNLV team reached the Nationals having finished first in the Indiana Regional where Harry secured 6th in the Individual.
– At Rich Harvest Farms he finished tied 39th in the Individual Stroke Play. Seeded 16th UNLV did well to qualify for the Top 8 Team Match Play but lost their Quarter Final to Vanderbilt 3-2. Harry lost his match with Patrick Martin (SPWAR 12) by 1 hole.
Harry ELLIS (Florida State, RJ Junior)
– 2016/17 stats: 13 events, 39 rounds (low 65), 2nd best finish, 71.62 average score.
– Harry had a very good season leading his Florida State team through to the Nationals with a tied 5th result in their Washington Regional.
– He finished T43 in the Individual Stroke Play at the Nationals, his team failing to make the Match Play Stage.
David WICKS (Jacksonville, Senior)
– 2016/17 stats: 12 events, 34 rounds (low 66), 1st best finish, 71.00 average score.
– David did very well for Jacksonville all year. He delivered in the Louisiana Regional with a tied 7th place and then helped his Team to a play off win over a Northwestern team containing Ryan LUMSDEN, who finished 16th in the Individual.
– At the Nationals he narrowly missed the Individual 54 hole cut.
Paul MCBRIDE (Wake Forest, Junior)
– 2016/17 stats: 11 events, 32 rounds (65 low), T2nd best finish, 71.69 average score.
– Paul played reasonably well during the season but will be disappointed with his finish to the year.
– His +12 tied 57th finish at the Texas Regional, where two of his three rounds were discounted, clearly played it’s part in Wake Forest’s surprise failure to qualify for the Nationals.
Europe convincingly beat USA 18.5-11.5 in the 2016 Arnold Palmer Cup (APC) played at Formby Golf Club on the weekend of 24th – 26th June.
The Arnold Palmer Cup is an annual team golf competition played between American college golfers and European college / university golfers. Played over three days it is made up of foursome (5), four ball (5) and singles matches (20).
The 2016 European Team (Photo: Arnold Palmer Cup)
This year the European Team included David Boote (WAL), Stuart Grehan (IRE) and Sam Horsfield (ENG) from Great Britain & Ireland.
I was informed that Walker Cup captain Craig Watson attended the match on the Friday.
It was of course the first time Horsfield (19) had played golf in GB&I having emigrated to Florida when he was four. I watched all of Sam’s match against Rico Hoey in the Sunday Singles which he lost by 1 hole. His iron play was very good and save for a number of missed short putts he may very well of won.
Nevertheless, as the table below shows, it was Boote and Grehan who made the bigger impression on the APC result.
The Golf Bible APC 2016 Individual Player Contribution Analysis
Boote, having graduated from Stanford the week before the APC match, may well have turned pro by the time the 2017 Walker Cup match comes round but I anticipate Grehan and Horsfield, perhaps the latter in his amateur swan song, both being in the selection shake-up.