Fernandez selected to prestigious Palmer Cup

Alex Gookin

As Scott Fernandez and the rest of the men’s golf team prepared to start their first round at the Big 12 Championships, the Golf Channel was announcing the 2013 Palmer Cup selections.

But it was a game day and the Cyclones were hopping in the van to play the biggest meet of the year with no time for TV. Fernandez was hoping for another top finish in what has become one of the best individual golf seasons in team history.

All that became a little sweeter as coach Andrew Tank checked Twitter before the meet. There, he saw Fernandez’s name among 10 collegiate players from Europe selected to the Palmer Cup on June 7-9 in Wilmington, Del.

“We had a pretty good idea that he was going to be in because he was doing so well in the [Palmer Cup] rankings,” Tank said. “But it was awesome to come across that on Twitter.”

The selection may not have come as too much of a surprise, but the Palmer Cup is about as prestigious as collegiate events get, featuring former U.S. Open champions Lucas Glover and Graeme McDowell among many other current professional golfers.

The Palmer Cup, named after golfing great Arnold Palmer, began in 1997 as an international collegiate golf event between the United States and Europe.

Traditionally, eight collegiate players from each country play against each other in a Ryder Cup-style format. Starting this year, 10 players were selected to each team.

Fernandez, who hails from Spain, was selected second to the European team based on rankings. He trailed only Texas Christian University’s Julien Brun (France), who finished tied for seventh with Fernandez at the Big 12 Championships.

Although Fernandez was in comfortable position to get picked for the Palmer Cup, there was no lack of excitement at the announcement .

“Scott was pumped,” Tank said. “I knew he wanted to play; I knew he was excited, but to see his reaction when I said, ‘Hey, Scott, they picked the team; you’re on it,’ he gave a fist pump in the van.”

Fernandez is the first ISU player to be selected to the Palmer Cup in its 16-year history.

Fernandez is also preparing for the NCAA Regionals. He will find out where he will be playing when selections are made May 6.

This will be the first time Fernandez will represent Iowa State without his team.

“It’s a little upsetting just going by myself,” Fernandez said. “It would have been nice to go as a team, but I’ll try to do my best to get our university up on the leader board.”

If Fernandez does well at the NCAAs and makes it past regionals, he plans on staying in the United States for the Palmer Cup in June.

The Palmer Cup selection was made on the heels of a record-setting season at Iowa State. Barring a spectacular collapse at the NCAA Regionals, Fernandez will own the school’s single-season stroke average record.

Fernandez recorded seven top-10 finishes in eight meets this season. He took medalist honors at the Furman Invitational for the second first-place finish of his career.

Fernandez will likely be a leader next year on a team that will not lose anyone to graduation. The opportunity to play for Europe in the Palmer Cup is another accolade Fernandez will put on his resume heading into his junior year.

“I’m happy to put my name up there with other players that have played it,” Fernandez said of the Palmer Cup. “It’s just really satisfying to see the results coming out of the hard work this year.”