New Zealand Golf has named an exciting team to contest the Espirito Santo World Amateur Teams Championship in Turkey in September.
The team which will represent New Zealand at the Gloria Golf Club in Turkey from September 27- 30 is World No.1 amateur Lydia Ko (Gulf Harbour), Mun Chin Keh (Titirangi) and Emily Perry (Lochiel). The team will be managed by non-playing captain Libby Steele.
The women’s team has been hotly contested throughout the past two years and the selection process has been rigorous to find the right combination of players.
Form heading into the World Amateur Team’s Championship was one of the leading selection criteria.
“These three players have been standout performers in the past two years leading into this selection,” said New Zealand Golf Chief Executive Dean Murphy.
“At only 15 Lydia has an exceptional track record. Her experience and composure on the international stage belies her age.
“We expect that she will lead from the front and we have chosen two players in Emily and Mun Chin who have plenty of quality to back her up for a good all-round team effort. We think this New Zealand team will be very competitive in Turkey.”
Murphy said this selection is a significant moment in these player’s careers.
“Playing in the World Amateur Team’s Championship is the pinnacle of any amateur golfer’s career. Competing with the best amateurs from around the world is an opportunity that only comes around every two years. It is a moment they will remember for the rest of their lives and we wish them all the best.”
Ko, who finished leading amateur in her major debut at the US Open, was an obvious frontrunner. In the past two years she has been without peer in the women’s amateur game.
Her crowning win came in 2012 when she won the NSW Open becoming the youngest winner of a professional event (both men and women). In 2011 she was the youngest winner of the New Zealand Stroke Play and New Zealand Amateur and the youngest to claim the mantle of World No.1.
Before her win at the NSW Open which attracted headlines around the world, Ko was the youngest winner of the Australian Amateur. She is a superstar of world golf and will attract plenty of interest in Turkey.
While Ko’s selection was a no-brainer there was plenty of competition for the final two places.
New Zealand Stroke Play Champion Perry (Lochiel) has a proven track record of success in the past two years in national events.
She defeated Ko in a playoff at Hastings to secure the NZ Stroke Play title and ahead of that birdied three of the final four holes at her home club Lochiel to win the North Island Stroke Play.
The 21-year-old, who last year became the first woman to win three Charles Tour events in succession, showed her newfound maturity at the start of the year when she held the round one lead of the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open at Pegasus with a five under par 67.
Mun Chin Keh has been the one of the form golfers in the local scene this year. She has won five titles in all including the New Zealand Amateur Championship, the Danny Lee Open at Springfield, the North Shore 54 Hole Classic by 14 shots, the Ruth Middleton Trophy and the New Zealand Foursomes title with her sister Wen Yung Keh.
She also finished tied second at the Grant Clements trophy, second at the South Island Stroke Play, third at the North Island Stroke Play and fourth at the New Zealand Stroke Play.
Her crowning win came at the Mount Maunganui Golf Club for the New Zealand 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 Mun Chin showed that she is a player who enjoys the big occasion and her form has been duly recognised by the selectors.
New Zealand has never won the Espirito Santo and the best results remain a runner-up finish at the championship in 1982 and 1990.
The Espirito Santo Trophy is a biennial world amateur team golf championship for women organised by the International Golf Federation. It is a stroke play event where the best two scores from three players count toward the team’s score for each round.
The inaugural event was held in 1964 at the St. Germain Golf Club in France and recent tournaments have featured teams from around 55 countries.
The New Zealand’s men’s team to contest the Eisenhower World Amateur Teams Championship in Turkey will be named the week of Monday July 23.
NZ Women’s Team for the Espirito Santo World Teams Championship:
Mun Chin Keh (Titirangi)
Lydia Ko (Gulf Harbour)
Emily Perry (Lochiel)
Team Captain: Libby Steele
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