2008 All-American Chesson Hadley joined the United States collegiate team for the Palmer Cup late last month. The Palmer cup is an annual Ryder Cup style tournament that puts the United States collegiate team against the best European collegiate golfers. Europe won the 2008 Palmer Cup by a final score of 14-10, but the US leads the overall competition, 6-5-1 with the tie coming in 1998 when the competition was between the US and Great Britain and Ireland.
The US team, led by Coach Conrad Ray of Stanford featured several golfers from major Universities. Alongside Hadley were Adam Mitchell of Georgia, Michael Thompson or Alabama, Billy Horschel of Florida, Aaron Goldberg of San Diego State, Rickie Fowler of Oklahoma State, Derek Fathauer of Louisville and NCAA Individual Champion Kevin Chappell of NCAA Champion UCLA.
On the European side, coached by Marten Olander of Sweden, were several members of US collegiate golf teams as well. The only non-US collegiate team member is Scott Borrowman of University of Stirling in Scotland. Others include Jonas Blixt of Florida State, Johnny Caldwell of South Alabama, Jorge Campillo of Indiana, Jonas Enander Hedin of Charlotte, Charlie Ford of Tennessee, Gareth Shaw of East Tennessee State, Tim Sluiter of Southern California.
The tournament took place on the par-71 Glasgow Golf Club Gailes Links, designed by Willie Park Jr. Hadley is the sixth ranked golfer in the nation and becomes the fifth Tech golfer to participate in the event. Matt Kuchar, Bryce Molder, Roberto Castro and Kevin Larsen are past participants.
After the first day, the Americans took a 6.5-5.5 lead sparked by Hadley. Hadley beat Caldwell to start the American streak with a 2 and 1 victory. Fowler followed that up with a 4 and 3 victory over Ford. Fowler led after two holes, but lost the fourth and fifth. He won the next five holes and won 14 and 15 to clinch the round.
Goldberg won a 2-up round over Hedin. Goldberg won the first hole and did not look back; he won 18 to cap the victory. Chappell continued the streak over Campillo with a 4 and 3 victory. Chappell would trail early but birdied the sixth to lead but lost the ninth to move back to a tie. After winning 11, he would lead the match for good.
Fathauer put a cap on the US’s winning streak with a 1-up victory over Shaw. The match went back and forth till the 18 when Fathauer would par the final hole for the win.
Unfortunately, Mitchell could not keep the streak going as he dropped a 5 and 4 match to Blixt. Mitchell won the first hole and would not win one after that. Blixt went on to win six of the next 17 holes. For the rest of the victories, Europe’s Borrowman defeated Horschel and Sluiter beat Thompson. Both won in close 1-up victories to bring the Day 1 tally to 6.5.5-5 in favor of the US.
Europe would go on to sweep the foursome matches to move to a 9.5-6.5 advantage over the Americans. Hadley and teammate
Fathauer were the only two to go the distance against Europeans Caldwell and Shaw. They lost a close 1-up match to the tandem.
Hadley and Fathauer won the second and third but lost the fourth and fifth. The match would go back and forth after that until hole 17 when Europe would reclaim the lead and tie 18 for the victory. In the other matches, Campillo and Sluiter won a 3 and 2 match over Chappell and Fowler.
Blixt and Hedin defeated Goldberg and Thompson 4 and 3 and Borrowman and Ford beat Horschel and Mitchell 3 and 1.
The final day did not get much better for the Americans, but did for Hadley. Campillo and Fowler split a point, while Blixt beat Thompson, 2 and 1, for a European victory. Hedin beat Mitchell 3 and 2 before Ford came from behind to split against Horschell. Caldwell beat Goldberg for the final European victory, 3 and 2. Hadley would become the first American to win on day two with a close 1-up win over Shaw. Hadley would birdie 10, 11 and 12 before dropped 14 and 15, but held on for the victory. Borrowman would defeat Kevin Chappell before Fathauer would claim a point for the US in the final round against Sluiter. Fathauer won two of the first three holes before Sluiter caught up to tie the match, but Fathauer won two of the final three holes for the match.
Hadley will return to Tech next season to lead a team that finished out of the top-10 in their regional for the first time in program history.