WGSA names Espirito Santo Team for Mexico

Womens Golf South Africa (WGSA) has selected South African number one Kaleigh Telfer, number two ranked Ivanna Samu and former number one Cara Gorlei to represent the country in the Espirito Santo Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships in Mexico this September.

“The biennial Espirito Santo Trophy draws the cream of women’s amateur golf around the globe and we believe we have selected three players that have the confidence and capability to rise to the challenge,” said WGSA President Karen Olivant.

“Since Kaleigh and Ivanna began dominating our senior rankings two years ago, they have been exposed to top international competition in a number of world-class events abroad and have gained a lot of experience competing at this level.

“Before Cara took up a scholarship at the University of Arkansas last year, she also represented South Africa on the international stage, including the Espirito Santo Trophy in Japan in 2014, and her experience on the US Collegiate circuit will bring a lot of depth to the team.

“Should one of the players be unable to perform their duty, their spot will be taken up by our non-travelling reserve Zethu Myeki, who is currently ranked third on the WGSA Senior Rankings.”

The trio will aim to emulate Ashleigh Simon, Stacy Bregman and Kelli Shean, who claimed South Africa’s only victory in the prestigious event in 2006.

Over the last two years, Telfer and Samu participated in the biennial Spirit International and two Toyota Junior Golf World Cups. In April, they combined with Myeki to claim a 28 shot victory at the 13th biennial All-Africa Challenge Trophy in Tunisia.

Bryanston’s Telfer also had a taste of competing at the highest level when she made local golfing history alongside Kyle McClatchie as South Africa’s first Olympians at the Summer Youth Olympic Games in China in 2014.

“Each time you arrive at an event abroad and you see the South African flag flying among so many international flags, you just want to burst with pride,” said Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member.

“To represent the country at the World Amateur Team Championship is the pinnacle of any amateur’s golf career; this is the ultimate prize we compete for and I am incredibly honoured to join Ivanna and Cara in representing South Africa in Mexico.”

Samu showed her capacity to perform under pressure in international competition in the United Kingdom last year when she became the first South African to reach the quarter-finals of the Girl’s British Open Amateur Championship in Scotland and finished ninth overall in the 2015 Duke of York Young Champions in England.

“Kaleigh and I have had the opportunity to represent South Africa in quite a few events in the last two years and we believe the experience has taught us an important lesson – play the course and don’t get intimidated by the competition ,” said the 17-year-old Ruimsig golfer.

“I think this will be key in Mexico when we face the best in the world. We are all incredibly excited and honoured to be in the team, and we will all work very hard in the next few months so we are ready hit the ground running in Mexico.”

Gorlei, was ecstatic to make the 2016 team.

“Michaela (Fletcher), Monja (Richards) and I tied for 29th in 2014 and I’ve always felt that none of us performed to our ability in Japan,” said the 20-year-old Milnerton golfer.

“The standard of the competition was really high, the conditions were testing and we never gained any real momentum. Still, my debut in the 2014 Espirito Santo Trophy in Japan was a dream come true and to be named to this year’s team was completely unexpected and a huge honour.

“I am extremely excited to be given a second chance to represent South Africa at the greatest team championship. I grew up admiring Ashleigh, Stacy and Kelli. I believe their victory in 2006 was an incredible achievement for women’s amateur golf in South Africa and I would love to form part of a legacy that inspires the next generation.

“I hope that I can put all the experience I’ve gained in the last year at the Arkansas Razorbacks to great use for South Africa. I am determined to bring my best golf to Mexico and I believe that if we bring a lot of positive energy to the event and get off to a good start, that will build a lot of confidence and anything is possible from there.”

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 2016 edition from 14-17 September at the Mayakoba El Camaleón Golf Club and Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club, designed by Pete Dye and Greg Norman respectively.

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

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