WGSA names Espirito Santo Team for Japan

Womens Golf South Africa (WGSA) has selected Michaela Fletcher, Monja Richards and Cara Gorlei to fly the flag for South Africa in the Espirito Santo Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships in Japan this September.

The world’s most prestigious biennial team competition is held under the auspices of the International Golf Federation and rotates among three geographical zones of the world, including Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Europe-Africa.

The South African trio will line up against more than 50 teams from across the globe in the 2014 edition at the Oshitate Course at the Karuizawa Prince Hotel and Resort from 3-7 September.

South Africa has only won the championship once and Fletcher, Richards and Gorlei are keen to emulate Ashleigh Simon, Stacy-Lee Bregman and Kelli Shean, who lifted the title at Stellenbosch and De Zalze Golf Clubs in 2006.

Ranked second on the WGSA Senior Rankings, Fletcher has won three Match Play titles this season and scored eight top 10 finishes, including a runner-up finish in the Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play Championship in April.

“It is going to the tough going up against the best amateur players in the world, but we are definitely ready for the challenge,” said the 18-year-old KwaZulu-Natal player.

“To represent South Africa in the Espirito Santo Trophy is a huge honour and we will definitely give our best to bring the trophy back to South Africa.”

Richards won the Free State and Northern Cape Championship in April and claimed her second podium finish at the Limpopo Championship in June. A runner up finish in the Gauteng North Championship on Monday further strengthened her bid.

The 26-year old from Mpumalanga was delighted to learn of her selection and hopes to celebrate her amateur swansong in the most memorable fashion.

“This is a dream come true for me and I am going to do everything within my power to help the team win this year’s event,” said Richards. “

“There cannot be a better way to end your amateur career than by lifting the Espirito Santo Trophy.”

In-from Gorlei vaulted to second on the Junior Rankings by virtue of winning both of the WGSA flagship junior championships this season.

The 18-year-old Western Province player lifted the Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl Championship title in April and claimed the Nomads SA Girls Championship at the fourth hole of a three-way sudden-death play-off last week.

Gorlei further vindicated her selection with three runner-up finishes in junior provincial events and a two stroke victory at the Gauteng North Championship on Monday.

She was absolutely elated about her selection.

“This was completely unexpected and I am extremely excited to be part of team,” she said. “This is definitely the biggest achievement of my career.”

WGSA president, Karen Olivant said the organisation is confident that the best three players have been selected to represent South Africa

“All three players have had excellent results this season,” Olivant said. “Michaela and Cara were highly instrumental in South Africa’s 11th victory at All-Africa Challenge Trophy in Zambia last month and Monja has definitely earned her spot on the team with her performances and experience.

“Our Elite Squad national coach, Val Holland, will once again accompany the team and we are very pleased that Headstart founder, Tom Dawson Squibb, will be joining us as the non-playing captain.

“Tom works closely with Val and Anna Becker during our Elite Squad training camps throughout the season and his input on the mental side of the game will be invaluable at this level of competition.”

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

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