April 22, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- University of New Mexico golfer James Erkenbeck has earned a spot on the United States team for the 2013 Palmer Cup, the Golf Coaches Association of America announced Monday.
The Palmer Cup is a Ryder Cup-style competition among collegiate golfers playing for U.S. schools. Ten U.S.-born players will vie against 10 players born in Europe on June 7-9 at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Del.
Erkenbeck, a senior from San Diego, automatically qualified as one of the top six ranked players for the U.S. He is currently ranked 19th in the latest Golfweek.com/Sagarin poll and No. 29 in the Golfweek.com poll. Each team selects the top six players according to ranking, and then has four more at-large berths to distribute.
"It is an honor to be a part of the Palmer Cup, and I am very excited to represent the U.S.," Erkenbeck said. "This was a goal of mine, and qualifying for it feels amazing."
Erkenbeck finished in a four-way tie for the individual championship at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters in Las Vegas, Nev., on March 8-10. He has nine top-20 finishes in 11 UNM team events in 2012-2013, including six top-10 efforts.
"James being selected to represent the United States in the Palmer Cup against Europe is a fantastic accomplishment," Lobo coach Glen Millican said. "It is very well-deserved recognition for a great season. We are excited to have James represent UNM and Lobo golf at such a prestigious event and are proud of what he has accomplished as a Lobo."
Erkenbeck is currently averaging 71.52 strokes per round, which currently ranks fourth all-time on the school's single-season low average. His career average of 72.38 strokes ranks third all-time at UNM, just 0.02 strokes behind No. 2 and current PGA Tour member Charlie Beljan (2004-07).
Before Erkenbeck can start thinking about the Palmer Cup, he and the fourth-ranked Lobos will start postseason play May 3-5 at the Mountain West Championships in Tucson. UNM will then head to a regional event at a course to be named May 16-18, in which it will try to qualify for the NCAA Championships from May 28-June 2 in Alpharetta, Ga.