GolfRSA has announced two strong teams to represent South Africa in the Eisenhower and Espirito Santo Trophies at the 2022 World Amateur Team Championships.
Hosted by the French Golf Federation, the Espirito Santo Trophy (women’s championship) will be played from Wednesday, 24 August to Saturday, 27 August, and the Eisenhower Trophy (men’s championship) from Wednesday, 31 August to Saturday, 3 September.
South Africa’s best performance in the Eisenhower Trophy was a runner-up finish in the 1980 edition by Etienne Groenewald, Duncan Lindsay-Smith, Wayne Player and David Suddards at Pinehurst.
Tasked this year to secure one of the few international titles to have eluded South Africa on the world stage, are two former SA Amateur champions in Christo Lamprecht and Christiaan Maas and newly crowned The Amateur champion Aldrich Potgieter.
Caitlyn Macnab and Kajal Mistry made their Espirito Santo Trophy debut in 2018 where they partnered Kaleigh Telfer to a 15th overall finish in Ireland. The SA Women’s Amateur & Stroke Play double champions will return for duty in France alongside 2022 SA Women’s Stroke Play winner Kiera Floyd.
The trio will be looking to claim the Espirito Santo for the first time since 2006, when Ashleigh Buhai, Stacy Bregman and Kelli Shean wrapped up the title on home soil.
The non-travelling reserves are reigning SA Amateur champion Kyle de Beer, 2021 Nomads SA Girls champion Bobbi Brown and last year’s SA Women’s Stroke Play winner Megan Streicher.
“I congratulate the selectors on naming two powerful teams who can put up compelling performances and challenge for the ultimate prize in amateur golf,” said GolfRSA CEO Grant Hepburn. “It was no doubt a difficult choice because the talent pool in South Africa runs very deep.
“The World Amateur Team Championships are played at the highest level of competition, and I have no doubt that these six GolfRSA National Squad members will rise to the occasion. They have all enjoyed strong performances this year, and we are very proud of their achievements. Both teams have a strong mix of experience and youth and can go all the way.”
South African Golf Association president Henk Smith and GolfRSA operations manager Eden Thompson will accompany the men’s team, while Womens Golf South Africa president Sarah Braude and national women’s coach Val Holland will travel with the women’s team.
“High expectations are part and parcel of this event, but we believe that we have selected a strong team and we are going to France with a winning mindset,” said Smith.
“We know that we will be up against the world’s very best golfers, but we have three superbly talented players in Christiaan, Christo and Aldrich, who have worked exceptionally hard and have produced the results to earn the honour of representing South Africa. We believe that they will do South Africa proud.”
The leading trio in the Official World Amateur Golf Rankings certainly merited selection based on their 2022 performances.
Following four top-five finishes at home, Maas finished fifth in the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley in the USA, and in June became the first winner on the GolfRSA UK tour when he lifted the Brabazon Trophy at Saunton Golf Club. The Pretoria golfer backed up his wire-to-wire five-shot victory in the English Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship with a tie for 22nd in the Scottish Men’s Open and a sixth-place finish in the St Andrews Links Trophy.
Georgia Tech’s No 1 Lamprecht has been in impressive form on the US collegiate circuit and has risen to 27th in the NCAA Men’s 1st Division standings this year. Last week he tied for ninth in the European Amateur Championship in Valencia in his first appearance outside the US since 2019. The Southern Cape golfer will also be making his debut for the International Team in the 2022 Arnold Palmer Cup at Golf Club de Genève next week.
Potgieter, who kicked off his season with a tie for third in the African Amateur at Leopard Creek in February, won the Nomads International Junior in early March. Two weeks later he became just the fifth golfer to seal the rare Nomads SA Boys U19 double and he did so in style, following a record 20-stroke victory in the Stroke Play Championship with an 8 & 7 win in the Match Play.
All this paled in comparison to his march to victory in the 127th Amateur Championship, where he routed top English golfer Sam Bairstow 3 & 2 to claim amateur golf’s biggest prize.
Macnab and Mistry – South Africa’s top-ranked amateurs at 52nd and 108th, respectively, in the Official World Amateur Golf Rankings – both made their 2022 NCAA Championship debuts this year, while Floyd, third highest in the rankings, secured one of the two premier titles on the GolfRSA women’s golf circuit.
Braude was equally positive about the women’s team’s chances at the biennial event.
“The Espirito Santo Trophy is the pinnacle of women’s amateur golf, and I am delighted that we have been able to assemble such a strong team for this year’s event in Paris,” she said. “They have all earned their spots with consistently strong performances and excellent results in the past two seasons.
“Kajal and Caitlyn were dominant performers on the GolfRSA circuit in the past, and they are both performing exceptionally well on the US college circuit. Their experience will be invaluable while, in Kiera, we have an exciting young talent who we think will add the X factor to this team. We are confident in their ability to compete at the highest level in France.”
In her first season at Texas Christian University, Macnab was the TCU Frogs’ top performer. A string of runner-up finishes and an 11th-place finish in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur boosted her to 45th in the current NCAA Women’s 1st Division standings. The Ekurhuleni golfer also earned some impressive accolades, including 2022 WGCA Honourable Mention All-American, WGCA Freshman of the Year Watch List, and First-Team Academic All-Big 12.
Mistry also enjoyed a great third season at No 1 for Arkansas University.
Not only did the Gauteng golfer celebrate her first collegiate individual win at the Mountain View Collegiate, but she recorded two top-five and three top-10 finishes and posted a top-12 finish in her career-first NCAA Championship Regional. Currently ranked 63rd in the NCAA Women’s 1st Division standings, Mistry was also named an All-SEC First Team selection (one of eight First Teamers in the conference).
Following her five-stroke triumph at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington in February, Floyd won the Gauteng North Junior Open and in March, the 17-year-old Ekurhuleni golfer teed it up in the Investec South African Women’s Open. She held her own in a world-class international field and severely testing conditions at Steenberg Golf Club to claim the Leading Amateur honours.
The defending champions are Denmark (men) and USA (women), following their 2018 wins at Carton House in County Kildare, Ireland after the 2020 edition of the WATC had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 72-hole stroke play tournament, where the best two scores out of three count each day, will be staged at two highly venues in France: The Albatross Course at Le Golf National – home to the French Open, the 2018 Ryder Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games Paris course – and the Red Course at Le Golf Saint-Nom-la-Brèteche, which hosted the Trophée Lancôme from 1970-2003 and the French Open from 1965-1969.