April 17, 2006
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s Roberto Castro and Kevin Larsen have been named to the United States team which will compete in the 2006 Palmer Cup, an annual Ryder Cup-style competition between American collegiate golfers and their European counterparts.
The 2006 matches will be played June 29-30 at Prestwick Golf Club (6,544 yards, par 71) in Prestwick, Scotland. The United States team was announced Monday by the Golf Coaches Association of America, and will be coached by Chris Haack, the head coach at the University of Georgia.
“I’m extremely happy for both of them,” said Tech coach Bruce Heppler, who coached the U.S. Palmer Cup team in 2003 and has had five of his players participate in the Palmer Cup matches. “Roberto had a tremendous experience last year. It’s an experience you can’t understand until you’re involved and have USA on your hat. It’s a great opportunity for both of them. And it’s a tremendous honor for our program to have two players on this team.”
The selection is the second for Castro, an All-American who led the U.S. team to a 14-10 victory over Europe last summer at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. The junior from Alpharetta, Ga., went 3-1 in his matches. Castro currently is ranked 16th in the nation among collegiate golfers.
“It was amazing,” said Castro of his experience last June, when he was the team captain. “I thought playing for the USA would be great, but when I got to the opening ceremonies and the flags started flying, I realized how special it is to represent your country. I can’t wait to go over there and do the same thing again. The teams were evenly matched last year, we had lost a couple in a row, and it felt really good to win.”
Castro said he has never played golf overseas. “I’ve been overseas, but not to play golf. I’ve never played any of the links-style courses before, so I’m excited for that reason, too.”
Larsen, a junior from Santa Barbara, Calif., is having his finest year for Tech, leading the Yellow Jackets in stroke (72.44) and top-10 finishes (5). He is ranked 10th in the nation among collegiate players.
“I’ve played pretty well this year, but wasn’t thinking about making the team,” said Larsen. “It is such an honor to be able to represent your country in anything, it’s very humbling. I haven’t been to Europe since I was two, and I’ve never played real links style golf, so this will be a lot of fun. It’s also great to have two of us from the same school on the team. We’re representing the United States, but we always represent Georgia Tech as well.”
The rest of Team USA includes Ryan Baca of Baylor, Ryan Blaum of Duke, Brian Harman and Chris Kirk of Georgia, Luke List of Vanderbilt and Clay Ogden of Brigham Young.
Blaum and Castro each posted 3-1 records in last year’s Palmer Cup and teamed up for a four-ball victory in the event’s opening round. Castro also served as team captain while Blaum was assistant captain.
Team USA leads the Palmer Cup series 5-3-1.