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Playing Across the Pond

Cal golfer relished his chance to compete in the Palmer Cup

Brandon Hagy, University of California, Berkeley senior golfer and Palmer Cup team USA selection, takes a chip shot in competition.

Most golf student-athletes spend the summer sharpening their skills. Ten, though, were selected to put those skills to the test against their international peers. They represented the United States at the Palmer Cup, a weeklong tournament named for golfing legend Arnold Palmer that was held at London’s Walton Heath Golf Club from June 26-28.

The 2014 team traveled to London with talented freshman, sophomore, junior and senior golfers from universities across the nation. While the U.S. team fell to Europe this year, recent University of California, Berkeley graduate Brandon Hagy insists the team gained more than they lost.

“It’s an incredible honor to represent your country,” Hagy said. “Being a student-athlete set me up for that.”

Hagy joined the team after an impressive senior season with the Golden Bears. He earned first team All-American and all-Pac-12 honors as well as receiving the Byron Nelson Award.

His subsequent selection to the U.S. Palmer Cup team gave him the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of traveling abroad. Aside from their time on the historic Walton Heath course, the golfers explored Great Britain and shared experiences with their European counterparts. The team took full advantage of their opportunity to experience a different country by visiting popular tourist attractions such as Elizabeth Tower (more commonly known as Big Ben), Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace.

The Palmer Cup Committee sponsored the voyage for the team, but Hagy credits his school for much of his success. Since 2003, Cal has sent five players and a coach to the Palmer Cup. Hagy considers himself lucky to have participated in such a respected tournament.

“It’s a lot of hard work on the course and in the classroom to get to this point,” he said. “But balancing both is key. And if you’re able to excel at both things, then you’ll have opportunities like the Palmer Cup.”