Experience and Youth picked for Astor Trophy

Womens Golf South Africa have named Bertine Strauss, Lora Assad, Michaela Fletcher, reigning Sanlam SA Amateur Women’s champion Ivanna Samu and Eleonora Galletti to fly the flag for South Africa in the prestigious 2015 Astor Trophy in Australia early next year.

This tournament officially began as the Commonwealth Tournament at St Andrews in 1959. The trophy was presented by Nancy, Viscountess Astor and the name of the event was changed in her honour in 2011. The competition is run over five days, with two foursomes and five singles matches each day.

The round robin tournament is held every four years and contested between South African, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and defending champions, Great Britain and Ireland. This year’s edition will be played at The Grange in Adelaide from 12-16 January 2015.

“We believe we have selected the perfect mix of experience and youth to represent our country in this very prestigious international event,” said Womens Golf South Africa president, Karen Olivant, who will accompany the team to Australia.

“Bertine, Lora and Michaela are all on golf scholarships in the United States, where they have gained enormous experience competing at college level.

“It is our philosophy to not only focus on victories and results, but to provide our up-and-coming players with opportunities to gain experience, as well. Although Ivanna and Eleonora are only 16 years old, they have both shown great potential this season and we believe their youth and exuberance will bring a very good balance to the team.”

Former number one ranked amateur Strauss returns as a member of the team that finished third in the 2011 edition at Fairhaven Golf Club in Lytham St Annes in England and third in 2007, when the Astor Trophy was hosted at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

“Bertine has been at the University of Texas since August 2011 and has been a top performer for the Texas Longhorns,” Olivant said.

“We are delighted that she is available to compete in the Astor Trophy for a third successive time.

“Lora has been at the Texas State University since 2012 and similarly, has a superb record for the Bobcats. During her summer break this year, she not only finished runner-up in the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur, but also captured the Ekurhuleni Open and Gauteng North Match Play.

“Michaela Fletcher was a three-time match play champion this season and a member of the South African team that competed in the Espirito Santo Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships in Japan in September. She started a scholarship at the University of Memphis in July and has already made an impression for the Tigers with four top 10 finishes in four starts.”

In addition to lifting the prestigious Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur title, Samu notched five more victories at provincial level to move to fourth in the Senior and second in the Junior Rankings.

Galletti earned a bronze medal in the Girls Competition at the second Youth Games in Botswana in May and assisted the South African team to gold in the Team Competition at Gaberone Golf Club. She also won the Gauteng 54-Hole Championship and the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play seeding round.

The five players worked on Foursomes pairings during a camp with WGSA national coach Val Holland at Ruimsig Country Club last week.

“The players are relishing the opportunity of testing their skills against the best players from the other nations competing in the Astor Trophy.”

Strauss, Assad, Samu and Galletti will also have the opportunity to compete in the Australian Amateur Open at The Australian Golf Club and The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney in the week following the Astor Trophy from 20-25 January.

Bertine Strauss (age 22; Rustenburg Golf Club)
Lora Assad (age 22; Randpark Golf Club)
Michaela Fletcher (age 18; Pietermaritzburg Golf Club)
Ivanna Samu (age 16; Ruimsig Country Club)
Eleonora Galletti (age 16; Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club)

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of Womens Golf South Africa.

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