SA team keen to launch Spirit International challenge
South Africa’s top amateurs Teaghan Gauche, Ivanna Samu, Matthew Spacey, Kaleigh Telfer and WGSA national coach Val Holland touched down in Texas for the 2015 Spirit International at the spectacular Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity.
“We were pretty wiped out after a 27-hour long trip, but warmly welcomed and immediately settled in with the other teams at Camp Olympia,” said Holland.
The national coach said the players enjoyed their first look at the course during the sponsors’ day on Sunday.
“All four players are hitting the ball great and they are loving this amazing golf course,” Holland said.
“It is in immaculate condition with not a blade of grass out of place. The greens are running at 12 and they are very slick and true.
“After the sponsors’ day, we joined the other 19 teams and celebrated a truly Texan welcome at the official opening ceremony, made even more memorable by a fantastic 80’s band called the Spazmatics.
“Everyone is excited for the official practice round with all the teams on Monday and to finally get the challenge underway.”
The men and women will both be playing against the foursome from Australia, who travelled slightly further – 8,892 miles – for Tuesday’s first round match-up.
Among this year’s entrants in the Women’s Competition is Girl’s British Open Amateur Championship winner Sandra Nordaas from Norway, who beat both Telfer and semi-finalist Samu, and Carlotta Ricolfi from Italy, who pipped Samu at the post to win the Girls Competition at the recent Duke of York Young Champions Trophy in England.
SPIRIT INTERNATIONAL FAST FACTS
– There are only three countries who have played in every Spirit International back to the inaugural event in 2001 – United States, South Africa and Mexico.
– Kim Williams from South Africa is the only player in Spirit International history to have played four consecutive times – 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013
– Of the 80 international players in the field at the 2015 Spirit International, 74 are national champions or ranked number one in their home country.
– The United States is the three-time defending champion – having won golf in 2009, 2011 and 2013. England is the only other multiple champion with victories in 2005 and 2007.