Essential Golf: A passion for the Game

The Big Team Events – Arnold Palmer Cup 2023

The Big Team Events - Arnold Palmer Cup
(The Arnold Palmer Cup)

In an evenly matched team contest held at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Penn., Team USA strengthened their lead over Team International in Round 3. Team USA added 10.5 points to their total and led Team International 23.5-12.5 after 36 matches.

The afternoon began with Nick Gabrelcik and Jennie Park carding four birdies en route to a 4&3 Team USA victory over Team International’s Maddison Hinson-Tolchard and Christiaan Maas.

“I putted it really well and he hit the ball really well,” said Park.  “Having a partner there to have your back always helps. It’s our soil and we want to win.”  

Tyran Snyders and Chiara Tamburlini won Team International’s lone match of the round, 3&2 over Ashley Menne and Preston Summerhays.

“We played really steady and kept giving ourselves chances,” Tamburlini said, “Both groups played pretty well, and Tyran and I didn’t make many mistakes.”

David Ford and Amanda Sambach birdied four of their first five holes en route to the 3&1 win over Team International’s Max Kennedy and Lauren Walsh, avenging an opening-round loss for the duo.

Other highlights of Round 3 included Illinois Fighting Illini Tommy Kuhl and Crystal Wang carding three birdies to beat Team International’s Herman Sekne and Lottie Woad 3&2.

Holding Off a Charge

Team USA did just enough to hold off a late Team International charge and win the 2023 Arnold Palmer Cup 32-28.

Entering Saturday’s final round down 11 points, Team International won 14 singles, twice as many their USA counterparts, but Zoe Campos secured the Cup for Team USA in tying her match against Maddison Hinson-Tolchard. 

“I know we struggled out there a bit with the individual matches [today], but I’m glad to get it done,” Campos said. “Honoring Mr. Palmer is something I’ll never forget.”

In his 3&2 victory over Team International’s Frederik Kjettrup, Ben James carded an albatross on the 534-yard, par-5 third hole with a 7-iron from 178 yards out. 

“I didn’t see it go in, but the pitch mark was like three feet in front of it, so I imagine that I landed it and it hopped in,” said James.

James then chipped in for eagle on the par-5 sixth hole.

“I stayed in control and drove really well after being up early,” he said. “I kept it in the fairway and gave myself opportunities to make birdie. This week was definitely one of the best memories of my life.” 

Emilia Migliaccio concluded her record-fifth Palmer Cup by never trailing in her 2Up victory over Wake Forest teammate and previously unbeaten Lauren Walsh.

“It was really special that we got to play all 18 holes together in our last amateur tournament,” said Migliaccio. “To have Lauren and Rachel (Kuehn), two of my closest friends, here is something we’ll always remember.” 

“I feel the legacy of Arnold Palmer here at the Palmer Cup. This week, you’re constantly reminded of the values that are important. Everyone wants to win and we’re all extremely competitive, but it’s about the bigger picture and the camaraderie between both teams. Each Palmer Cup has kind of felt that way, but to be able to do what I did, not play college golf for a year and come back was really, really special. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Honorable Mentions

Tyran Snyders of Team International won every match he played during the 2023 Palmer Cup, including Saturday’s 3&2 victory over Maxwell Moldovan, who entered the morning 2-0-1 on the week.

“It honestly means a lot,” Snyders said. “I had a pretty good year going, and towards the end [of the season], I had some tough rounds and tough days. I’ve seen a lot of good things this week, which is showing that what I’m working on is working. To go and do this at such a prestigious event and contribute every point I could to the team means a lot to me.”

In his third-straight Palmer Cup appearance, Team USA’s Nick Gabrelcik won every match he played in this week, including Saturday’s 1Up victory against Sampson Zheng. Campos (2-0-2) and Gordon Sargent (3-0-1) also finished unbeaten. 

Team International’s Mirabel Ting defeated Amari Avery, who entered the day 7-0 in career Palmer Cup matches, 2&1 with four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 third hole.

“I got a really good start,” said Ting. “Even though there were a couple of up and downs today, it was fun playing against Amari. The formats here this week were really cool and it’s awesome to know where your weaknesses are when you’re not in the fairway. I learned a lot today and this week.”  

Christiaan Maas used two eagles and four birdies to earn the 5&3 win over previously unbeaten Caleb Surratt.

Received Exemptions

Each year, a man and woman are voted upon by their peers to receive exemptions into the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and Amundi Evian Championship. The 2023 recipients were David Ford and Rachel Kuehn.

“I was thinking back to when I caddied in the Palmer Cup a few years ago, remembering so vividly that there was one player designated to get an exemption into that event,” said Ford. “To have my name called is really cool and comes full circle.”

“I’m really honored because I got voted in by the rest of the players,” Kuehn, who celebrated her 22nd birthday Saturday, said. “I feel really lucky to be given the opportunity to represent the Arnold Palmer Cup and everyone here well that week.” 

This was first published in Essential Golf – you can read the complete magazine here.