Women's Golf

Bettel Remains in Hunt for Arnold Palmer Cup Selection

by Eric Lindsey

NORMAN, Okla. – Kentucky women’s golf senior Leonie Bettel, who checks in at No. 13 among all women’s college players in the latest GolfStat rankings, is still in contention for selection to the Arnold Palmer Cup.
 
Bettel, off to one of the best seasons in UK women’s golf history, appeared at No. 6 in the latest international Arnold Palmer Cup rankings, which were released Thursday.
 
The Arnold Palmer Cup, co-founded by Arnold Palmer and The Golf Coaches Association of America, 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. The 2018 event matches at Evian Resort Golf Club became the only major tournament that features men and women playing side-by-side as partners.
 
Bettel is in the conversation to appear in the 2019 tournament, which will be held June 7-9 at the Alotian Club in Roland, Arkansas.
 
The top six golfers from the final ranking in the spring from both the United States and international men and women – 12 total golfers – will be among the 24 individuals selected to compete in the Arnold Palmer.
 
Using Golfstat’s NCAA player rankings as a base, the Arnold Palmer Cup Ranking awards bonus points for wins and high finishes and a penalty for poor finishes. The ranking also contains a strength of schedule component.
 
The remaining six men’s and women’s spots for the United States will consist of five committee selections, including at least one non-Division I golfer, and a coaches’ pick. The balance of the international team will include the men’s and women’s winners of The R&A Scholars Tournament, four committee selections and a coaches’ pick.
 
The next Arnold Palmer Cup Ranking will be announced Feb. 28.
 
Bettel is off to a historic start. In the fall alone, the senior from Austria already captured two individual championships, four top-10 finishes and is on pace for the best single-season stroke average in school history.
 
Bettel won her first college individual championship with a dominating performance at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship in Knoxville, Tennessee, in September. Bettel rallied from a two-shot deficit on the final day of competition with a tournament-tying record score of 65 in the final round. That score tied the tournament record, which she set the season before. Her 65 was one shot off the 18-hole school record.
 
Bettel ended up with a 5-under-par 208 to win the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship by four strokes.
 
A few weeks later, at Kentucky’s home tournament, the Bettie Lou Evans Invitational, Bettel was even better. While leading UK to a team championship, the Wildcats’ first in five years, she shot an 11-under-par 205 for a two-shot victory.
 
In the process, Bettel set a number of marks. She became the first Wildcat to win two tournaments in a season since Lauri Berles in 1995-96, broke the 54-hole school record and set a new program 54-hole tournament record.
 
And even when Bettel hasn’t won, she’s been right in the mix. She tied for sixth place at the season-opening Minnesota Invitational in Woodbury, Minnesota, and tied for sixth at the Trinity Forest Invitational in Dallas to close the fall season.
 
Nine of her 12 rounds in the fall were par or better, which is already the third most in a single season in school history. With a 70.6 stroke average, she’s well ahead of the school-record pace.
 
Bettel is also a candidate for the ANNIKA Award, which is presented annually to the women’s national player of the year.
 
Since its inception, more than 100 former Arnold Palmer Cup alumni have gone on to earn cards on either the PGA Tour, European Tour or LPGA, 28 have represented Europe or the USA in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, and more than 50 have claimed more than 200 victories on the PGA or European Tours. The United States leads the series 12-9-1.
 
For more information, visit arnoldpalmercup.com.
 
Kentucky returns to action this weekend at the Reynolds Lake Oconee Collegiate Championship in Greensboro, Georgia.
 
For the latest on the Kentucky women’s golf team, follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.
 

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