ORLANDO, Florida - It’s not every day that one of your best friends and high school teammates just so happens to be one of the best in the world at what they do.
That can be said, however, for Team International teammates Sam Choi and Puwit Anupansuebsai. Choi, a junior at New Mexico and Anupansuebai, a senior at San Diego State, have had a throwback to their prep days this week at the 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
The duo met at Anaheim Discovery Christian School in Anaheim, California back when Anupansuebai was a sophomore and Choi a freshman. Sneaking under the radar, Choi found a friend in Anupansuebai as the two began playing golf together, kicking off their relationship.
As the two began to look ahead as to what was next, their relationship never floundered. As Anupansuebai stayed in California to go to San Diego State and Choi headed east to New Mexico, the two supported each other in making the best decisions for themselves and their families.
“We were trying to find schools that fit for [us] individually,” Choi said. “Me and my family wanted to go outside of California.”
Staying in the same conference, the two often see each other on the tournament circuit as the Aztecs and Lobos are members of the Mountain West Conference. What they did not expect to see, were each other’s names on the International roster.
“I was so pumped to see that we’re going to be on the same team and play together,” Anupansuebai exclaimed. “It is awesome to see my high school teammate make it on the same team because I think not many high school teammates play together in Palmer Cup! Our relationship grew over high school years so to see my best friend on the same roster is awesome.”
The same sentiment is shared by Choi who says it is like a dream come true. The dream got even better for the dynamic duo as they were paired together in Tuesday morning’s foursome matches against Oklahoma’s Quade Cummins and Baylor’s Cooper Dossey.
Jumping out of the gates with a win on their first hole, No. 10, Anupansuebai and Choi went back and forth with the Americans from the Big 12 for a few holes before turning on the afterburners. Winning hole Nos. 12-15 and picking up another on No. 18, the Internationals took a 5UP advantage on their opponents before making the turn.
“It was so much fun with him today,” Choi said. “We know each other’s game so well. We were mentally disciplined and played well as a team.”
On the final nine, Cummins and Dossey chipped away at the margin, cutting Anupansuebai and Choi’s lead to just 1UP with four to play. Choi injured his back and was dealing with the injury while trying to push through the pain and getting treatment throughout the round.
“We were up a lot on the front but then Sam got injured,” Anupansuebai said. “Our heads were a little out of the game during that five hole stretch because I care about my partner more than win or loss but at the end we trust each other and I said ‘Let’s do this! Let’s finish strong!”
Finished strong, they did. On No. 7, the 16th hole of the match, Anupansuebai stuck a 25-yard bunker shot to set up a tap-in par for Choi to keep the match from going back to all square. On No. 8, Choi escaped the trees that surrounded Anupansuebai’s tee shot and capped the hole off with a 30-foot dagger to keep the match at 1UP.
Despite the back troubles, he wasn’t afraid to put the team on his back as he capped off the match with a bunker shot put to seven feet for a International 1UP victory.
“There’s a lot of trust between us and we had a really good attitude and team chemistry.” Anupansuebai said.
Choi sat out Wednesday’s singles matches for a 1-2-0 record while Anupansuebai 3-0-0 record in what is the pair’s first Arnold Palmer Cup appearance.
About Arnold Palmer Cup
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, Orlando, Fla., 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. 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, including three major championships in 2020. 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 Arnold Palmer’s commitment to youth development and the growth of amateur/collegiate golf. For more information, please visit ArnoldPalmerCup.com.
About Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation
The Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation champions its namesakes' legacy through grantmaking and initiatives that support children’s health, youth character development and nature-focused wellness. Learn more at PalmerFoundation.org.
Rolex and the Arnold Palmer Cup
Through an unwavering commitment to the game of golf for more than 50 years, Rolex has developed one of the broadest and longest-standing relationships between brand and sport. These strong ties date back to 1967 when Rolex partnered with legendary golfer Arnold Palmer. The charismatic American holds a special place in golf history thanks as much to his natural talent and successful playing career as to his pioneering role in the sport. Since that pivotal bond, Rolex has gone on to establish partnerships at every level of the sport, including the governing bodies responsible for advancing the sport and the finest players, from The Big Three to the New Guard who are leading the rankings at the moment. The decision to partner the Arnold Palmer Cup was thus a natural progression for the Swiss watchmaker, and a tribute to the Arnold Palmer’s inspiring legacy.
An unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise
Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products. Its Oyster Perpetual and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. The word “Perpetual” is inscribed on every Rolex Oyster. But more than just a word on a dial, it is a philosophy that embodies the company’s vision and values. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of the company, instilled a notion of perpetual excellence that would drive the company forward. This led Rolex to pioneer the development of the wristwatch and numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism, invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 500 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces inhouse the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Furthermore, Rolex is actively involved in supporting the arts and culture, sport and exploration, as well as those who are devising solutions to preserve the planet.
The exclusive footwear, apparel, headwear, and glove supplier of the Arnold Palmer Cup, Our mission is what drives us to do everything possible to expand human potential. We do that by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.