Anna Morgan was having fun representing the United States at the Palmer Cup matches in Geneva Switzerland, while back home she was receiving yet another honor following her outstanding sophomore year at Furman.
Morgan was named the SoCon Female Athlete of the Year. The honor is presented to the top female athlete in all SoCon sports.
The latest award goes along with Morgan’s Southern Conference Player of the Year Award and All-American recognition both on the course and in the classroom where she was honored as a WGCA All-American Scholar.
The awards and honors follow a college golf season where Morgan firmly placed herself among the best collegians in the country.
“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t realize this has been an incredible year,” said the Lady Paladin rising junior.
Morgan won two college tournaments, played and made the cut at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, finished ninth in the NCAA National Championship and played in the US Open, and has just returned to her home in Spartanburg to get ready to play in another tournament.
Her trip to Switzerland as a member of the American team facing an International team for the Palmer Cup was interesting and fun.
“I had never been to Europe before so it was something new. It turned out I was on the same flight with Rachel Kuehn from Asheville who plays at Wake Forest,” said Morgan.
Morgan and Kuehn, who was playing in her fourth Palmer Cup, have competed with each other in US Kids and Carolina Golf Association tournaments for as long as Morgan can remember.
“We talked about playing in junior tournaments and never imagined we could someday play in a tournament like this and represent our country,” Morgan recalled.
The Palmer Cup teams were made up of twelve men and twelve women. This year the US women’s team was coached by Kory (Thompson) Henkes, the Ole’ Miss coach who grew up in Easley and played at USC.
Most of the competitors on both the men’s and women’s teams were college golfers from the United States.
While the Palmer Cup had an opening ceremony that featured introductions by CBS golf announcer Jim Nantz there was not much formality. The event was all about golf.
“We played a practice round, a College-Am with the members, and three days of golf with 36 holes on one day,” she said.
The Palmer Cup competition was played at Golf Club De Geneve. Morgan had a hard time trying to compare the course with some views of the Alps to any other famous course.
“It had pretty tight fairways and the greens rolled quickly, The course was in great condition and the club treated all of us very well. The food was amazing,” she said.
With a field full of the best college players in the world, there were no easy matches.
“It was a grind. You wanted to play really good golf and still have fun. You wanted to give yourself a chance against these great players,” she said.
When it came to the matches, Morgan got a chance to do something she had never done before, play an alternate shot match.
“There just isn’t anything like it in women’s golf. It was different and you feel bad if you don’t leave your partner with a good shot. We managed to get to 4-under and thought that was pretty good,” said Morgan.
The US team ended up on the wrong end of a 33 to 27 score to the International Team, but Morgan closed out her experience with a dramatic singles win.
Morgan was playing Kajsa Arwefjall from Sweeden who plays for NCAA DII power Dallas Baptist.
The match between the two was even until Morgan went 1 up on her 14th hole.
“I had not been putting well all week, but I finally got it going and got the lead,” said Morgan.
When the golfers got to 17 Morgan still had a one-shot lead, but Arwediall had a good look at a birdie to square the match.
Morgan was on the green, but 40 feet away.
“I thought I could make a birdie from there. I can’t say I was thinking of knocking it in, but when I hit it I first tried to tell it to sit, sit, sit, but then it got closer and I started to tell it to go, go, go,” she laughed.
Go it did, right in the hole for a 40-foot eagle to give Morgan a 2 and 1 win and a great memory of her Palmer Cup experience.
“I’ve had some wonderful experiences and I never thought some could be topped, but when they announced Anna Morgan representing the United States, that was something I will look back on,” Morgan added.
Morgan’s mom and grand-mom joined her on the trip and the three got to spend a little extra time doing some sightseeing before returning home in time to play in her favorite tournament, the Women’s North & South in Pinehurst, a tournament Morgan was runner-up in last year.
With so much success and so many wonderful experiences, it is going to be hard for Morgan to top this year and the place she has earned among the top college golfers in the country.
“I had a great season and enjoyed it, I don’t want to go into next year expecting to win awards, so we will have to see how next year goes, but this year has been incredible,” concluded Morgan.
Palmer Cup matches scores from GolfStat https://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/nonav.cfm?pg=palmer2022&eid=24338&lk=2&tid=25479