Allyson Geer, together with her husband Nick, is hosting family Christmas this year at their house back in Michigan. She’s the only player in this week’s Palmer Cup who will return home to that responsibility.
Thankfully, Geer, who recently completed her four-year career at Michigan State, is getting a major assist with the cooking.
Geer’s mom Andrea is “four days deep” into making lasagna, traditional fare for the Geer family. Italian heritage means it’s real-deal lasagna, too. Homemade noodles and everything.
“It’s a very secret family recipe,” Geer explains.
Geer is in Florida competing at the Arnold Palmer Cup, a Ryder Cup-style event for college golfers. Geer, however, has left that stage behind.
There wasn’t a lot of noise mid-summer when Geer turned professional. She entered the Michigan Women’s Open field in late June without the usual “a” next her name and eventually her name was dropped from the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Geer has since set up an LLC for a budding professional career and spent the summer working with Backswing Golf Events. She’ll plan to enter LPGA Q-School in 2021.
“I’m just kind of enjoying this time to be a pro and a little bit of a gypsy before I start the real gypsy life,” she said.
Turning pro meant giving up her return trip to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Truly, her 2019 turn in the field will be a once-in-a-lifetime memory. Still, the time felt right.
Geer’s partner on Tuesday afternoon in mixed foursomes for the Palmer Cup just returned from Augusta. John Augenstein garnered some airtime in November as he battled Andy Ogletree for low-amateur honors. Augenstein finished 72 holes at 3 over, three shots behind Ogletree in that race.
The next day, Augenstein announced he would forego the remainder of his fifth year at Vanderbilt in favor of turning professional.
“All semester coming back to school, there was always a good chance that I was going to turn pro after the Masters,” he said. “It’s hard to sometimes explain, but it just felt like it was the right time.”
It’s atypical for “newbie” pros to tee it up in the Palmer Cup. Traditionally, these co-ed college matches – which pit 12 Americans against 12 international players – happen in the summer. The 2020 competition was scheduled for Lahinch Golf Club in Ireland in July, but like just about everything else, the Golf Coaches Association had to improvise in pushing them right up against the holiday and relocating them to Bay Hill in Orlando. They also allowed players to compete who had already turned professional, like Geer and Augenstein.
“I decided to play this week because it’s an honor to make the team. . . . I’m thankful for making the team and being able to play,” Augenstein said, “and so I wanted to honor my acceptance of playing the tournament. Also it gives me some competitive golf to see where I’m at going forward.”
He’ll next play the American Express, the PGA Tour event in Palm Springs, California, in late January on a sponsor exemption.
Geer and Augenstein lost their fourball match on the opening day of the Palmer Cup, but redeemed themselves with a win in mixed foursomes on Tuesday afternoon.
Four groups behind them, former Delta State player Zach Zediker and former Cal State San Marcos player Jaime Jacob paired against Yuxin Lin and Angelina Ye. Jacob was excited to hit short irons into greens for a change thanks for Zediker’s length off the tee, and Zediker liked his partner’s prowess on approach shots.
Zediker turned professional in September and Jacob did so in early November. Both have already cashed their first checks as working golfers.
Traditionally, select players are chosen to represent non-Division I golf at the Palmer Cup. Neither Zediker nor Jacob, who both competed at the NCAA Division II level, take that responsibility lightly.
“People don’t think those are big shoes to fill, but they’re big shoes to fill,” Jacob said before pointing out that Zediker had gotten it to 5 under through 15 already this week. “I think walking into this people kind of discount us for that. … We are nothing to let your guard down on.”
When she arrived at Bay Hill and opened the suitcase full of gear she received for the week, she was blown away. Jacob is close friends with other women who have competed on the Palmer Cup – former Arkansas player Alanna Uriell, who played in 2018 and Ann Parmeter, a former Dallas Baptist player who edged Jacob for selection to last year’s team.
Parmeter gave Jacob the rundown before the week of what to expect, but none of that did it justice.
“If I’d known this was what I was walking into, I probably would have started crying when I found out,” she said.
It’s a rare opportunity to represent your country on a national team. When Zediker learned he’d made the team, he couldn’t wait to break the news to his dad.
“Not everybody gets to do this,” Zediker said.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/22/palmer-cup-college-golf-john-augenstein-allyson-geer/