SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly women's golf coach Sofie Aagaard has been selected as one of four coaches for the 2021 Arnold Palmer Cup, to be held in December 2021 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois, about 50 miles west of Chicago.
The Arnold Palmer Cup was co-founded by Arnold Palmer and The Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) and began at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida, in 1997. The event is a Ryder Cup-style tournament featuring the top men’s and women’s university/college golfers matching the United States against a team of International players.
Aagaard, a native of Sweden, will coach the International team against USA head coach Kim Lewellen of Wake Forest. Coaching the men's teams will be Greg Sands of Texas Tech (USA) and JC Deacon of Florida (International).
"I am extremely honored and exited to be selected as a head coach for the International team for the 2021 Arnold Palmer Cup," said Aagaard. "To get to be a part of this great team tournament, celebrating the game of golf under Arnold Palmer's legacy, is an absolute dream come true.
"The mission of this event, to bring competitors together through the universal bond of golf, is special and seen in the team makeup with players from all over the world," Aagaard added. "Having competed in similar events as an amateur player, I can't wait to now be a coach and have the opportunity to give back and create great memories for this generation of golfers.
"Selected in coed teams of 12 male and 12 female college players, we will have the best amateur players in the world representing the international team to compete against the U.S. team. The level of competition at this event is incredible and you will see many of the players who are competing and representing the U.S. and the international team to go on to successful professional careers."
A year ago, Aagaard was selected as an assistant coach for the International squad in the 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup. That event, originally scheduled for July 3-5 at Lahinch Golf Club in Lahinch, Ireland, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is slated to be held Dec. 21-23 at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida.
Aagaard will assist Virginia head coach Ria Scott in the December event.
Aagaard was named head coach of the Cal Poly women's golf team in July 2015. Last year's campaign, cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, included first-place finishes at the Battle at Old Works and Wyoming Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate in addition to one third-place finish and a pair of fourths.
Caroline Cantlay was the team's top scorer, averaging 75.1 strokes per round, and Vanessa Wang was right behind at 75.2. Cantlay set a new Cal Poly single-round record of 65 at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational and the team set a new 18-hole record of 277 in the second round of that event.
In her first season as head coach of the Mustangs, Aagaard guided the squad to a second-place finish in the Big West Conference Championship. Cal Poly led after the first two rounds of play. Aagaard was named Big West Coach of the Year by her peers and Madison Hirsch earned second-team All-Big West honors.
Steady improvement the next season (2016-17) produced four tournament wins, including Cal Poly's first Big West team championship in women's golf and an appearance in the NCAA Albuquerque Regional. Sophie Bergland was named to the All-Big West first team while Jamie Binns and Desiree Gillaspy landed on the second team. Aagaard was honored as conference coach of the year for the second straight season.
Aagaard was also an assistant coach at California for three seasons prior to Cal Poly.
The Arnold Palmer Cup has been played at some of the world’s greatest courses, including The Old Course, The Royal County Down, Royal Portrush, Baltusrol, The Honors Course, and Cherry Hills. The 2018 matches at Evian Resort Golf Club became the only major tournament which features men and women playing side-by-side as partners.
Since its inception, over 100 former Arnold Palmer Cup alumni have gone on to earn cards on either the PGA Tour, European Tour or LPGA, 29 have represented Europe or the USA in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, and more than 60 have claimed over 250 victories on the PGA or European Tours. The United States leads the series 12-10-1.
The Arnold Palmer Cup is supported by Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation. The Arnold Palmer Cup provides a platform for perpetuating Palmer’s commitment to youth development and the growth of amateur/collegiate golf. For more information, visit ArnoldPalmerCup.com.
— This report was contributed by Eric Burdick, Associate Director of Athletics for Communications