BRYAN, Texas — Texas A&M’s Sam Bennett was honored with the Michael Carter “Junior” Memorial Award and helped boost Team USA to its first Arnold Palmer Cup victory since 2018 by a score of 33-27 at Rich Harvest Farms on Sunday. Bennett also earned received the Arnold Palmer Invitational exemption.
“Being from a small town in east Texas and being able to represent my country in the Arnold Palmer Cup was an amazing experience,” Bennett said. “I am so proud that I was able to compete and that my name is forever associated with Arnold Palmer and the legacy he left. Overall it was a great experience this week. It was fun to win it with this team and to play with all of these great golfers from the United States and around the world. To be given the Michael Carter Award is very humbling and an honor I will always cherish.”
On February 13, 2002, former Penn State University golfer and GCAA Arnold Palmer Cup intern Michael Carter died in an automobile accident at the young age of 19. While Carter tragically left this world too soon, his infectiously fun-loving spirit will forever live in this competition. The Michael Carter “Junior” Memorial Award is presented to the Arnold Palmer Cup participant from each team who best represents the qualities and ideals that made Michael unique. Bennett is the second Aggie to win the award, following Ignacio Elvira who won in 2011.
The Aggie also received the Arnold Palmer Invitational exemption. The players select a member of each team (excluding themselves) who they think best represents the “Arnold Palmer Legacy,” that is, the values that Arnold Palmer has exhibited during his legendary career. The top vote getter from the winning team earns the invitation. The Arnold Palmer Cup player selected must remain a collegiate golfer to compete at API. The API is scheduled for Feb. 28-March 6, 2022 at Bay Hill Championship Course in Bay Hill, Florida.
Bennett tied his singles match with Team International’s Hugo Townsend (Boise State), locking in half a point for Team USA. Bennett collected 1.5 points for the United States throughout the weekend. Team USA clinched the Cup after winning the singles matches 13-11.
The junior is the first Aggie to help his team to victory at the Arnold Palmer Cup since Chandler Phillips and Team USA won the 2018 championship.
Bennett adds the Arnold Palmer Cup trophy and the Michael Carter Award to his impressive 2020-21 season resume. The Madisonville, Texas, native won a trio of tournaments, was named the Southeastern Conference Golfer of the week twice, garnered a First Team All-SEC selection and collected a first team PING All-America honor.