Palmer Cup gets underway with Internationals out to a slim lead
By Mike Dudurich, for

The sphere of influence cast from one Arnold Daniel Palmer is a phenomenal one.

From little Latrobe, Pa. to points east and west around the world, the King affected people and organizations with his working man’s style, his easygoing manner and the respect he showed for everyone he ever met.

And it’s very appropriate that the 2023 Arnold Palmer Cup is being held this week at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, a small town that is home to Laurel Valley GC.

Oh, and if by some chance none of the clicks for you, watch out for the large Arnold Palmer statue just outside the pro shop door.

That’s a lot of words to say that the next two days will continue to a never-ending tribute to the King as well as some great amateur golf.

The event got off to a flying start Thursday and when the opening round was a mixed four-ball competition that went the way of the International team, 6.5.-5.5.

There was excitement from beginning to end with perhaps the best happening last.

International’s Max Kennedy set off the fireworks on 18 when he ripped his 198-yard approach on the 537-yard par five to within two feet of the cup. He knocked that putt in and the Internationals got a tie to maintain the lead going into the long second-round day.

“That was special,” Kennedy said. “We (he and teammate Lauren Walsh) were under the gun coming down to the last (hole), and I hit a good shot. Lauren’s been keeping me in it all day, so it was my time to give a little back.”

“We thought we’d have to make an eagle coming down to the last, and he’s been hitting that 7-wood great all day,” said Walsh. “I was walking up hoping that it was a 7-wood number for him.”

The Internationals closed fast, just like they opened. While the U.S. team of Derek Hitchner and Emili Migliaccio took a 1-up lead heading into the back nine, Team International’s duo Mateo Fernández de Oliveira and Julia Lopez Ramirez came roaring back with four birdies in the last nine holes and won the match, 1-up.

“We had a rough start, but got warmed up, knew how to change our bags, and got more comfortable with each other on the back nine,” said Lopez Ramirez, who was 2-0 playing with Fernández de Oliveira in the 2022 Palmer Cup. “The good golf came, and we were having a really good time out there.”

There were tough matches all over the scoreboard including the one in which Megan Schofill and Caleb Surratt posted a 4 & 3 win over Herman Sekne and Mirabel Ting.

The Internationals, on the strength of victories by the duos of Tyran Snyders/Chaira Tamburlini, Christo Lamprecht/Caley McGinty and Ryan Griffin/Lottie Woad, the U.S. trailed 6-3 going into the final trio of matches of the session.

But the U.S. rallied on the strength of wins by Gordon Sargent and Amari Avery and Ashley Menne and Preston Summerhays, Team USA had closed the gap considerable on the scoreboard. But Kennedy’s beauty of a 7-wood and subsequent eagle kept the home team from earning a tie after one day.

Day Two will begin at 7: 30 a.m. with the Foursomes and the third round, featuring Mixed Foursomes gets underway at 1:30.

Arnold Palmer is looking down with a big smile on his face.

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ABOUT THE Palmer Cup

The annual Ryder Cup-style competition features top men and women collegiate players from the United States against their International counterparts.

Each team will be comprised of 12 men's and 12 women's golfers. Day one will feature Mixed Four-Ball competition, day two will see Mixed Foursomes in the morning and Four-Ball in the afternoon, with 24 singles matches on the final day.

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