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Palmer Cup picture clearer after release of penultimate rankings

Will Gordon
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Will Gordon, Vanderbilt  - 

The penultimate Palmer Cup rankings were released Thursday, and while there were several notable omissions in the U.S. men's rankings, both women's rankings remain strong.

Four of the top five Americans in the Golfstat men's rankings have withdrawn their names for consideration, leaving BYU junior Peter Kuest, ranked fifth in the country, as the top-ranked player in the running to secure one of 12 men's spots on the 24-player U.S. team.

Both the U.S. and International rosters will be revealed Wednesday night live on Golf Channel.

There's little surprise that Oklahoma State sophomore Matthew Wolff, Cal senior Collin Morikawa and USC senior Justin Suh won't play in the June 7-9 matches at The Alotian Club in Roland, Ark. Morikawa and Suh are expected to turn pro this summer while Wolff plans to make the jump if he makes it through U.S. Open local and sectional qualifying, the latter of which takes place June 4.

One absence that is more surprising is Georgia freshman Trent Phillips, ranked sixth nationally.

There are still three top-10 players (all seniors) currently in position to make the U.S. squad – Duke's Alex Smalley, Ohio State's Will Grimmer and Vanderbilt's Will Gordon. Wake Forest junior Eric Bae and Georgia Tech junior Luke Schniederjans round out the top 6.

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On the International men's side, Oklahoma State junior Viktor Hovland won't play. Instead, the current top 6 consists of Arizona State junior Chun An Yu, Louisville sophomore Matthias Schmid, Mississippi State junior Peng Pichaikool, Texas Tech junior Sandy Scott, USC sophomore Kaito Onishi and Wake Forest sophomore Kengo Aoshima.

Even with the women's game being hit hard by LPGA Q-School this winter, the U.S. and International teams figure to include plenty of talent. On the U.S. side, UCLA junior Mariel Galdiano and Arkansas senior Dylan Kim hold the top two spots, followed by USC teammates Jennifer Chang and Malia Nam, Furman senior Haylee Harford and Texas sophomore Kaitlyn Papp. Stanford junior Andrea Lee and Arkansas senior Maria Fassi, who will turn pro after NCAAs, are the only notable withdrawals.

Florida State freshman Frida Kinhult and UCLA sophomore Patty Tavatanakit are the top International players in the rankings while Pepperdine senior Hira Naveed, Auburn sophomore Julie McCarthy, Stanford junior Albane Valenzuela and Alabama junior Jiwon Jeon round out a stout top 6 on the International side.

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