Rafferty selected for Palmer Cup in Lahinch

Caolan Rafferty

Caolan Rafferty had achieved one of his major objectives for 2020 by being selected on the International team for Arnold Palmer Cup which will take place at Lahinch Golf Club from July 3 to 5.

The Arnold Palmer Cup was co-founded by Arnold Palmer and The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) and began at Bay Hill in Florida in 1997. The event is a Ryder Cup-style tournament featuring the top men’s and women’s university/college golfers matching the United States against a team of International players.

Last year, in the R&A Foundations Scholars Tournament in St Andrew’s, Rafferty was on course to play his way on to the team when he led by five shots going into the final round with the winner guaranteed a Palmer Cup spot. However, he was pipped by Welshman Aled Greville who came out of the pack and shot seven-under to deny the Dundalk man a trip to Arkansas.

This time around, he won’t need to play his way onto the team as last week the committee selections for the 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup were announced on Golf Channel’s Golf Central as part of their coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Three men and three women per side were named and Rafferty was one of the three selected on the International men’s team.

As he is in his final year of a Business degree course at Maynooth University, this was Rafferty’s last chance of making the team and he was delighted to have achieved one of his major objectives for the year.

“It’s nice to make it, especially when it’s my final year in Maynooth and my final chance to make the team. It feels nice to get a committee pick too. Making it early saves a lot of trouble and means I don’t have the worry of having to and win the R&A event next month although I would still like to win that event after what happened last year.”

Rafferty is also delighted that this year’s event is in Lahinch where he won the South of Ireland Championship in 2018 and where he knows he will be able to count on plenty of support.

“I love Lahinch, it’s a class spot. The people down there have been very good to me over the years and to be able to play a big event like this one on home soil is a bonus too. It means I can get some of the support which I always get when I play any event in Ireland which is great and it also will show the talent that is out there at college level to people who wouldn’t always see it.”

Rafferty will be joined on the International team by Irish women’s international Olivia Mehaffey who is a student at Arizona Stage while Barry Fennelly, Maynooth University Golf Programme Manager, will be an Assistant Coach for the International side.

The remainder of the 24 player mixed International team will consist of 12 players selected using the APC Ranking (25 March), four additional committee / coach’s picks and the two winners of The R&A Student Tour Series Final on April 7.

Recent Palmer Cup representatives from Ireland include Julie McCarthy (2019), Ronan Mullarney (2018), Chloe Ryan (2018), Stuart Grehan (2016 and 2017), Gary Hurley (2013 and 2015) and Paul Dunne (2014).

Since its inception, over 100 former Arnold Palmer Cup alumni have gone on to earn cards on either the PGA Tour, European Tour or LPGA, 29 have represented Europe or the USA in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, and more than 60 have claimed over 240 victories on the PGA or European Tours. The United States leads the series 12-10-1.