For all of South African golf’s great achievements, success in the World Amateur Team Championships has been rare. Ashleigh Simon, Stacy Bregman and Kelly Shean famously triumphed in the 2006 Espirito Santo Trophy, but apart from that sole victory on home soil, the cupboards have remained bare.
A runner-up at Pinehurst, US in 1980 is the best result our men have achieved and it has been a while since either team has contended. Recent performances have been disappointing. In Turkey in 2012, SA finished 23rd in the men’s and 35th in the women’s events, and two years ago in Japan, the men finished 43rd, while the women came 29th.
This year, South Africa has turned to Golf RSA National Squad members Jovan Rebula (19), Marco Steyn (18) and Dylan Naidoo (18) to reverse the trend. Rebula and Steyn are the two top-ranked amateurs in the country, while Naidoo is arguably the form player in South African amateur golf at the moment.
The trio has every chance of contending for the coveted title.
‘Jovan is currently the top-ranked player on the SAGA Open Amateur Rankings and he secured his place in the team with consistently good performances at home and abroad,’ explained SAGA acting president Geoff Taylor.
‘He was also the natural choice to captain the team in Mexico, having represented South Africa in various international team events in the past four years.
‘Marco and Dylan also hold impressive records in team events, which further supported their selection.’
On the women’s side, Ivanna Samu (17), Kaleigh Telfer (19) and Cara Gorlei (20) form a strong team that is capable of mounting a serious challenge. Samu and Telfer have been the two top-ranked golfers for the past two years, while Gorlei, who represented South Africa in the 2014 Espirito Santo Trophy, has been performing well on the American collegiate circuit.
‘The biennial Espirito Santo Trophy draws the cream of women’s amateur golf around the globe and we believe we have selected three players who have the confidence and capability to rise to the challenge,’ said WGSA president Karen Olivant.
Espirito Santo Trophy (Women): 14-17 September
Eisenhower Trophy (Men): 21-24 September
Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Venues: Mayakoba El Camaleón Golf Club (Greg Norman design), Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club (Pete Dye design)
Defending champions: US