Alyaa stars in Arnold Palmer Cup to end year with a flourish

  • Golf
  • Sunday, 27 Dec 2020

Seizing the day: Alyaa became the first Malaysian to feature in the prestigious Arnold Palmer Cup.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s top amateur golfer Alyaa Abdulghany ended the year with a flourish by powering Team International to glory at the Arnold Palmer Cup.

The 21-year-old had impressed by delivering three out of a possible four points to help her team defeat Team USA 40½-19½ in the four-day event which ended last Wednesday at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Florida, the United States.

Alyaa, who’s a final year student at the University of South California, became the first Malaysian to feature in the annual prestigious Ryder Cup-style showdown involving the cream of the crop of collegiate golfers in the US.

Since 2018, the tournament has been contested by the US and the rest of the world, although it had previously pitted the home side against Europe as well as Britain and Ireland in the earlier years of the competition which was started in 1997.

Alyaa proved just why she’s worthy of a place in the 24-member side, comprising 12 men and 12 women, when she won three of her opening matches.

In the opening mixed fourball, Alyaa partnered England’s Angus Flanagan to beat Davis Thompson-Latanna Stoneof 2&1 (two up with one hole to play). Thompson is the world No. 2 ranked men’s amateur golfer in the world.

Alyaa excelled in the foursomes too, combining well with Sophie Guo of China to win by a hole (1-up) from Stone and Julia Johnson.

Alyaa and Flanagan rejoined forces for the third event – the mixed foursomes – and their partnership yielded yet another point for the Internationals as they beat Thompson-Stone 1-up.

Alyaa fell short in her bid to finish the meet unbeaten. On the final day, she went down tamely 4&3 to Gina Kim in the singles.

Still, it must surely be a proud moment for Alyaa to have featured in the storied event and be part of the winning side.

The world’s current top three players Dustin Johnson, John Ram and Justin Thomas were former participants of the meet.

In spite of a pandemic-shortened season, Alyaa still enjoyed a memorable year especially after making it to the semi-finals of the US Women’s Amateur Championship and also winning the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship.

The joint-third outing at the US Women’s Amateurs catapulted her to a career-best No. 24 in the world ranking.

However, due to lack of action, Alyaa has slipped and will end the year as the world No. 34.

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