Illinois alumni help Team USA to Arnold Palmer Cup win

By Adam Rosen, Summer Editor

Illinois alum Crystal Wang helped Team USA to a win in the 27th annual Arnold Palmer Cup this weekend over Team International in Pennsylvania. Wang provided two wins for her side, with a 2-1-1 overall record as Team USA took their 14th win in the competition since its inauguration in 1997.

The tournament was started as a Ryder-Cup style event for the top American and International collegiate golfers. Wang was one of two Illini invited to participate for the United States, the other being men’s golfer and fellow graduate Tommy Kuhl.

Wang’s career at Illinois spoke for itself, with 2023 being the best season of her collegiate career.

Wang was a Big Ten Championship medalist, the first Illini women’s golfer to earn that honor in 30 years. She posted the lowest 54-hole total in the history of the Big Ten championship, finishing with just 201 strokes. The California native was the Big Ten Player of the Year, an All-Big Ten First Team selection, an Academic All-Big Ten selection and finished first in the Big Ten Championship with the best round in conference tournament history.

Wang’s invitation to the Arnold Palmer Cup was the first for a women’s golfer in program history.

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Wang and Kuhl were put into action and led from the beginning to win, without registering a single bogey during their match on Friday. However, the Illini duo’s dominance wasn’t enough to take a day-one lead.

In the first of two rounds on Saturday, Wang and her teammate, Jennie Park from Texas A&M University, tied with Team International. However, Team USA still took the first round of matches and had a 14-11 lead before the afternoon round.

Wang and Kuhl were paired up again on Saturday afternoon and dominated for Team USA. They took a five-stroke advantage after just eight holes as the USA thoroughly dominated the late session, taking a 10.5-1.5 win heading into the final round on Sunday.

On the final day, Wang entered the singles match-ups and battled through a competitive and tightly contested match with Iowa State golfer Karisa Chul-Ak Sorn. Through 14 holes, the match was tied, but Wang was unable to earn a victory, losing the match. However, Team USA still won the competition for the second time in three years, off the back of a dominant Saturday.

Illinois men’s and women’s golf had outstanding seasons in collegiate play, but Wang and Kuhl added to an illustrious program history with their performances in the Arnold Palmer Cup.


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