11 August 2023 – GolfRSA National Squad quartet Kesha Louw, Jasmine Furstenburg, Gia Raad and Olivia Wood are primed to fly the flag for South African in the 94th edition of the prestigious R&A Girls’ Amateur Championship from 15-20 August in Yorkshire, England.
While Raad has been campaigning in Britain for the last three weeks, Louw, Furstenburg and Wood – travelling with Womens Golf South Africa President Susan Andrew – left for the United Kingdom on Women’s Day.
“It is very exciting to have four members of our National Squad participating in this championship,” Andrews said. “Kesha and Jasmine were selected to represent GolfRSA, while Olivia and Gia entered independently. We would obviously love for all of them to make the match play stage, but the most important goal of competing in this event is player development.
“The R&A Girls’ Championship is hugely prestigious and annually attracts the top talent in the junior girls’ game. It is the perfect platform for our young players to compete at the highest level and gain invaluable experience in this world-class field to further their golf careers.”
The full field of 144 juniors will play two rounds of 18 holes stroke play (one round each at Ganton and Fulford) to qualify for the match play stage. Only the low 64 players will continue the championship at Ganton Golf Club.
“These two superb venues will further enhance their growth because both will test their course management,” Andrew said. “Ball and flight control will be essential to scoring well at Ganton, one of the finest links courses in England. At Fulford, where the fairways wind between trees, accuracy and positioning will be key.”
Louw, Furstenburg and Raad – respectively ranked third, fourth and fifth – and Wood, ranked eighth in the GolfRSA Junior Girls standings. All four juniors are coming into the championship with good form.
Louw, who honed her game at East London Golf Club before moving to Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate this year, is a two-time runner-up this season and has only finished outside the top four in one of her 11 starts.
In addition to winning the Eastern Province and Border Championship at Humewood, Oubaai’s Furstenburg represented South Africa in All Africa Junior Team Championship and the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup and recently finished third in the WP Nomads Junior Girls Championship.
Wood, who plays out of Umhlali Country Club, had a top 10 in the Nomads SA Girls and a top five in the Gauteng North Women’s Open Championship in July.
Raad notched her first national title in the Nomads SA Girls Championship and her first win on English soil in the English Girls’ Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship over the last four weeks. The 16-year-old Country Club Johannesburg member backed up the five-stroke victory at Caversham Golf Club with a tie for eighth in the English Girls’ U-16 and U-14 Open Stroke Play Championship at Shifnal Golf Club last week.
“All four players have enjoyed some great results this season, both at the coastal and inland venues at home, and Gia is coming off a fantastic stretch in July. We are excited to see how they will measure up on the international stage in this prestigious event,” Andrew said.
The winner of The R&A Girls’ Championship gains exemptions into the Women’s Amateur Championship, the US Girls’ Junior Championship, Final Qualifying for the AIG Women’s Open and by tradition, an invite to compete at Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship.
Past winners of the R&A Girls’ Amateur Championship include major champions and Solheim Cup players such as Anna Nordqvist, Suzann Pettersen, Azahara Munoz and Georgia Hall, while 2019 champion Pia Babnick from Slovenia has already gone on to win on the Ladies European Tour.