2005: Amateurs - U.S. rally wrests Palmer Cup

Kohler, Wis.

Roberto Castro, a sophomore last season at Georgia Tech and U.S. Palmer Cup team member, was on the practice putting green prior to his match in the final afternoon session at the Palmer Cup.

Mike Rosenfeld, father of U.S. team member Matt Rosenfeld of Texas, was walking by, turned to Castro and said “41⁄2 points,” referring to the number the Americans needed June 8 in the eight final singles matches to regain possession of the Cup for the first time since 2002.

Castro simply smiled and replied, “Eight,” indicating he was looking for an afternoon sweep.

While that didn’t happen in the Ryder Cup-style competition at Whistling Straits Golf Club, the U.S. did dominate, earning 6 points and bringing the Cup back to American soil.

“There are too many of these cups that are on that side of the pond,” Castro said. “We wanted to be the ones to help start getting them back over here. Winning this week ranks over everything I’ve done individually. When you’re out here playing for your flag, it’s really special.”

The teams were tied at 2 after the first morning’s four-ball matches and 6-6 following the eight afternoon singles matches. Each side won two matches in Day 2 morning foursomes, leaving the score tied at 8 heading into the final eight singles matches.

“I think these kids had a mission this week, to get the Cup back,” said U.S. coach Buddy Alexander, coach at Florida. “Right now, today, this was the most important thing to these guys and they got the job done. As it turned out, it was a pretty good spanking.”

The deciding moment came when Castro sank an 8-foot par putt to win the 15th hole and defeat England’s Steve Tiley of Georgia State, 4 and 3. That gave the U.S. it’s 12th point, and Jeff Overton of Indiana was right behind and standing at 4 up with four to play.

Overton 2-putted for par at No. 15 to halve the hole and score a 4-and-3 victory over Spain’s Pablo Martin (Oklahoma State).

The other U.S. final day singles victories: Matt Every (Florida) defeated Scotland’s Scott Jamieson (Augusta State), 2 and 1; Michael Putnam (Pepperdine) defeated England’s David Skinns (Tennessee), 3 and 1; John Holmes (Kentucky) turned back Sweden’s Alex Noren (Oklahoma State), 3 and 2; and Ryan Blaum (Duke) downed Wales’ Rhys Davies (East Tennessee State), 3 and 2.

Europe’s singles highlights came when Sweden’s Kalle Edberg (Augusta State) won the last three holes to edge Rosenfeld, 1 up; and Spain’s Alejandro Canizares (Arizona State) held off Spencer Levin (New Mexico), 1 up.

For Levin, who was 2-1-1, it was his last competition as an amateur. He tied for 13th last year in the U.S. Open to earn an exemption into this week’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst, and will forgo his senior year and make the Open his professional debut.

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