WGSA WATC Team Announced
South African women’s amateur golf team to defend it’s title in the 2008 World Amateur Teams Championship (WATC), the Espirito Santo Trophy, from 8 to 11 October in Adelaide, Australia, was announced by Women’s Golf South Africa (WGSA) President Erica Lefson today.
The three players are Monique Smit (Oubaai G.C., Southern Cape), Iliska Verwey (Cradock G.C., Eastern Cape) and Kim Williams (Centurion C.C., Gauteng North). The non playing captain is Sandra Winter, who filled the same position in 2006 when the team won the competition played at De Zalze and Stellenbosch Golf Clubs. The manager is Erica Lefson.
The non travelling reserve is Bertine Strauss (Rustenburg G.C., North West).
South Africa won the Espirito Santo Trophy in dramatic fashion, in 2006, on a tiebreaker with defending champions Sweden.
The Espirito Santo Trophy is the arguably the most prestigious women’s amateur team golf trophy and is held every second year.
The championship is being played over two golf courses, The Grange Golf Club East and West Courses. More than 45 International teams are expected to participate, each team consisting of three players with the best two scores to count in each round. The team with the lowest 72 hole aggregate wins the competition.
On the members of the victorious team of 2006, only Kelli Shean is still an amateur. She is at University in the US and has not been released to participate in this competition. Stacy Bregman is no a successful professional campaigning on the Ladies European Tour and Ashleigh Simon is trying her hand on the Ladies PGA Tour in the US.
Iliska Verwey, who is currently on a golf scholarship at Georgia State University in the US, represented South Africa at the 5 Nations Commonwealth tournament at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington in 2007. The previous year the 20 year old golfer got her national colours participating in the Australian Amateur Championship in Sydney.
In preparation for the World Amateur Team Championships, she travelled with Kim Williams, Monique Smit, Bertine Strauss and coach Val Holland to Adelaide in July to compete in the Rene Erichsen Salver on the East and West course of The Grange Golf Club. Kim Williams recorded the best finish of the team, finishing tied 8, Verwey finished tied 13. While in Australia the team managed to get in a practice round at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club as well.
Kim Williams, at 22 years of age is the older of the three players, is presently second on the SA Order of Merit and enjoying a very successful run of golf. She won the North West Championship in March, was runner-up to Bertine Strauss in the KwaZulu Natal Championships in April, won the Gauteng Championship match play title in May, and was the winner at the Gauteng Nomads Stroke Play Championship in July. In 2007, she represented South Africa at the SAAB International in Belgium and the Regional All Africa tournament in Gaberone, Botswana.
At 17 years old, Monique Smit is the youngest player in the team. Although she missed a number of Provincial tournaments while playing in Europe this year, she is nonetheless fourth on the SA Order of Merit and has the lowest stroke average. Earlier in 2008, she won the Ernie Els World Junior Invitational at Fancourt, was runner-up to Breanne Loucks in the SA Match Play Championship and won the Western Province Stroke Play Championship. In July, she and Lara Weinstein won the Jakarta World Junior Championship, with Smit winning the individual A Division Girls’ Championship.
The team is expected to arrive in Adelaide on 3 October. Each team is allowed two practice rounds on each course, commencing 4 October.