June 14, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford's Patrick Rodgers won two singles, a four-ball match and halved a foursome to help the United States capture the Palmer Cup by 20.5-9.5 against Europe at Wilmington Country Club last week on June 7-9.
The U.S. leads the Palmer Cup series 9-7-1. The competition, named in honor of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, invites the top six men's collegiate golfers who are citizens of the U.S. and Europe. Those players will be among the 10 individuals selected to represent each team.
In the opening four-ball match Rodgers and Alabama's Justin Thomas defeated UCF's Greg Eason and Nova Southeastern's Ben Taylor, 5 and 3.
After the U.S. won holes two through four with birdies to take a 3-up lead, Europe came back with a birdie on the fifth. By the turn, the Americans went 4-up. Europe birdied the 12th, cutting the lead back to 3-up, but the U.S. finished strong with back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15.
Rodgers claimed a 4 and 3 singles victory over TCU's Julien Brun. The Cardinal birdied the first hole but bogeyed the fifth to return the match back to all square. Rodgers went on to win three consecutive holes, and Brun cut the lead to 2-up after making a birdie on the 13th. Then Rodgers birdied 14 and 15 for the win.
Team USA's Rodgers and Thomas halved the foursome match against UCLA's Pedro Figueiredo and Pontus Widegren.
An opening birdie gave Europe the first hole and the U.S. came back with a birdie on the second. After 13 holes in the lead, the Americans were 1-up before Figueiredo made an 18-footer on the 18th hole to halve the match.
For the tournament's final match, Rodgers took a 2 and 1 win against NUI Maynooth's Gary Hurley. After Hurley led 1-up through four holes, Rodgers evened the match by the turn. The Cardinal birdied the 11th and went 2-up at the 15th.
For two consecutive years, Rodgers was named a first team PING All-American, a first team All-Pac-12, a Ben Hogan Award semifinalist, and a Palmer Cup selection. The sophomore recorded six top-10 finishes including three individual titles on the season and five overall. He led the Cardinal with a 70.88 stroke average (34 rounds) and holds the program's career low stroke average record at 70.77 (71 rounds), ahead of Tiger Woods.
GoStanford.com: Talk about your experience playing with Alabama's Justin Thomas and that dynamic.
Rodgers: Justin and I have been great friends for a long time. We grew up playing junior golf together in the Midwest and have played in a lot of tournaments together. For USA Coach Seawell, it was an easy pairing because our games blend well and we have good personalities for match play.
GoStanford.com: In the singles, you defeated Julien Brun 4&3 and Gary Hurley 2&1. Tell us your favorite part about playing singles and your performance.
Rodgers: I love the head-to-head competition and I feel like my experience playing other sports really helps me. I was ahead most of the time in both singles matches, so it was nice to play well and provide some big points for Team USA.
GoStanford.com: Can you talk about the Wilmington Country Club?
Rodgers: I had never played Wilmington CC before but what a club it was! The golf course was newly refurbished and it was outstanding in length with big greens and some great classic undulation. It was a challenge, but with some quality shots there were birdies to be made.
GoStanford.com: How does your 2013 Palmer Cup experience compare to last year?
Rodgers: This was my first team win on any Cup competition. I had been a part of a few losing teams with the Palmer Cup and Walker Cup, and I really went out there with a sense of urgency to get the win and represent Team USA. We had a great group of guys who were really confident and relaxed, and we had a great time playing some really nice golf.
GoStanford.com: What was it like to compete against Philip Rowe, Stanford's Enlight Foundation Assistant Coach and Europe's assistant coach?
Rodgers: It was a different dynamic having Coach Rowe on the other side. He was in charge of leading the European team, so we were both pretty competitive throughout the week. I know he has had quite a bit of success in team matches, and I feel honored to have competed against him and gotten the best of him last week.
GoStanford.com: Can you talk about your interactions with Arnold Palmer?
Rodgers: He has been a tremendous ambassador for golf and has been a frontrunner in growing the game. He told me that he was proud of the way we represent the game and the United States, and I was extremely humbled to have received such a nice complement from the King.
GoStanford.com: Tell us your favorite memory from this year's Palmer Cup.
Rodgers: Lifting that trophy with my teammates was a pretty rewarding feeling. I am great friends with those guys and I am proud to have represented the United States the way we did. This will be a week that I will remember forever.
- By Estela-Marie Go, Stanford Athletics
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