Sam Burns, Hannes Ronneblad highlight 2017 Palmer Cup selections

USGA/Chris Keane

Sam Burns, Hannes Ronneblad highlight 2017 Palmer Cup selections

Amateur

Sam Burns, Hannes Ronneblad highlight 2017 Palmer Cup selections

ORLANDO, Fla. – The teams for this summer’s Palmer Cup are here.

The 20 players to compete in the 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup were announced Thursday morning at Bay Hill Club & Lodge as action got underway at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The annual match-play competition between collegiate players from the U.S. and Europe is set for June 9-11 at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

LSU sophomore Sam Burns led the way in points for the U.S., as the favorite for the Haskins Award Presented by Stifel will pace an American squad with many fresh faces. Among the six automatic qualifiers on points, four are currently freshmen or sophomores in college. Along with Burns, Oregon freshman Norman Xiong, Texas A&M sophomore Chandler Phillips and California sophomore Collin Morikawa were among this group.

Seniors Maverick McNealy (Stanford) and Jimmy Stanger (Virginia) rounded out the automatic qualifying group. Among the automatic qualifiers, McNealy is a returnee from the 2015 U.S. Palmer Cup squad.

McNealy qualified for the 2016 squad as well but was forced to withdraw due to illness. The Stanford senior has now qualified for three straight Palmer Cup teams with Thursday’s announcement.

“He really exemplifies the amateur golfer right now,” said John Fields, the head coach at Texas as well as the U.S. team’s coach at the 2017 Palmer Cup. “Everything that he does, whether it’s college golf or amateur golf, I think he takes it so serious. … He brings a wealth of experience. So you can lean on a guy like that to help you.”

The three committee selections were USC’s Sean Crocker, Illinois’ Nick Hardy and Florida Southern’s John Coultas. Fields’ coach’s pick went to Doug Ghim, who has played for Fields at Texas for three years.

Here’s a look at the U.S. squad:

  • Sam Burns, So., LSU
  • Chandler Phillips, So., Texas A&M
  • Collin Morikawa, So., California
  • Jimmy Stanger, Sr., Virginia
  • Maverick McNealy, Sr., Stanford
  • Norman Xiong, Fr., Oregon
  • Sean Crocker, Jr., USC
  • Nick Hardy, Jr., Illinois
  • John Coultas, Jr., Florida Southern
  • Doug Ghim, Jr., Texas

For Europe’s automatic qualifiers, it was a Red Raiders and Cowboys party.

Two Texas Tech players made the team on points, with Sweden’s Hannes Ronneblad (a senior) leading Europe’s points list. Texas Tech junior Fredrik Nilehn, also of Sweden, finished second in the standings. Oklahoma State junior Kristoffer Ventura finished third in points to make the team.

Jacksonville senior David Wicks,  Florida State junior Harry Ellis and Missouri freshman Rory Franssen rounded out the automatic qualifiers for Europe.

Oklahoma State freshman Viktor Hovland was one of two committee selections, joining teammate Ventura on the squad. Maynooth’s Stuart Grehan was the other committee selection. Nova Southeastern’s Richard Mansell was David Inglis’ coach’s pick.

Inglis was a playing member of the first European Palmer Cup team in 2003 and now leads the last European team before the event switches to an international squad in 2018.

“You look at the venues we’ve gotten to play over the last 20 years … I’ve been fortunate enough to go to Baltusrol, Kiawah, Stanwich Club, Royal County Down and now Atlanta Athletic Club,” said Inglis, also Northwestern’s head coach. “(This event) is something (these players) going to remember for the rest of their lives.”

The 10th and final member of the 2017 European team will be determined in early April. The winner of the R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament, to be played at St. Andrews on April 3-4, will earn Europe’s final spot.

Notably missing from the team is Florida State sophomore Sam Horsfield and Vanderbilt senior Matthias Schwab, who will both turn pro before the competition.

Here is a look at the European team:

  • Hannes Ronneblad (Sweden), Sr., Texas Tech
  • Fredrik Nilehn (Sweden), Jr., Texas Tech
  • Kristoffer Ventura (Norway), Fr., Oklahoma State
  • David Wicks (England), Sr., Jacksonville
  • Harry Ellis (England), Jr., Florida State
  • Rory Franssen (Scotland), Fr., Missouri
  • Stuart Grehan (Ireland), Sr., Maynooth
  • Viktor Hovland (Norway), Fr., Missouri
  • Richard Mansell (England), So., Nova Southeastern
  • 10th player to be named April 4

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