As far as making your international debut there isn’t a better place to don the Silver Fern for the first time than the Espirito Santo World Amateur Team’s Championship.
Auckland teenager Munchin Keh will do exactly that when she teams up with World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko (Gulf Harbour) and Emily Perry (Lochiel) at the Gloria Golf Club in Turkey from September 27- 30.
Keh has been the one of the form golfers in the local scene this year. She has won five titles in all including the Danny Lee Championship at Springfield, the New Zealand Amateur Championship, the Ruth Middleton Trophy and the New Zealand Foursomes title with her sister Wen Yung Keh.
Her crowning win came at the Mount Maunganui Golf Club for the NZ Amateur title when she delivered one of the shots of the championship on the 36thhole of the final to within a foot of the hole to seal a 1up win over her younger sister Wen Yung.
In that moment, the 19-year-old Munchin showed that she is a player who enjoys the big occasion and her form has been duly recognised by the selectors with her first international cap.
“I am pretty excited and stoked,” said the Titirangi golfer. “I can’t wait to get over there.
“It means a lot to be a New Zealand rep. it is my first international tournament and it happens to be the world’s so I am really happy. It will be a nice way to make my debut.”
Keh, who formerly played at the Pakuranga Country Club, where she still practices, was part of the recent Worlds Camp at the New Zealand Golf Academy at St Peters in Cambridge where she met Phil Tataurangi.
“He was really great to talk to,” she said. “He talked about their experience at the Eisenhower and gave us some advice on how to be better prepared. He told me to not be overwhelmed and to just treat it like any other golf tournament and that was really helpful.”
She has no idea what to expect on the stage of international competition but Tataurangi said that ignorance is not necessarily a bad thing.
“Well ignorance can be bliss,” said the 42-year-old who was the leading individual when New Zealand won back in 1992 in Canada.
“Going to your first international event at the Worlds could be a real bonus as you don’t get ahead of yourself and it’s all so exciting and new that it can inspire you to play well.
“It all goes so quickly you don’t really have time to think about it, but the key is getting settled early so you can feel like you are your normal self and can play at your best.”
Keh added: “I have never been over to Turkey but I have heard that it is really hot. It will be different and we’ll have to adapt to all these new experiences.”
She is looking forward to catching up with Ko after her record breaking feats around the world.
“She is amazing. She is making history pretty much every time she plays. Emily and her have a lot of experience so I am looking forward to playing alongside them and hopefully we perform well.
“I think I was picked because I am a very consistent player and hopefully I can be a consistent member in Turkey.”
It has been a dream year so far for the slightly built Keh but one she is taking in her stride as she accomplishes some major goals.
“Winning the New Zealand Amateur was my biggest achievement so far and getting into this team was another one so I am very excited.
“This is a great opportunity for me. My sister is really happy for me too. Maybe next time both her and I can represent New Zealand that would be really cool.”
This is the first of three player profiles of the players in the New Zealand team to contest the Espirito Santo World Teams Championship in Turkey. Emily Perry and Lydia Ko will follow in the next two days.
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