20 Jan 2023 | Amateur golf |
by Dane Heverin
The Australian team for the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) at Singapore Island Golf Club from March 9-12 has been confirmed with three of the six players set to make their debut in the event.
Victorians Keeley Marx and Jazy Roberts, along with West Australian Abbie Teasdale will chase regional glory for the first time, while South Australian Caitlin Peirce and Queenslanders Sarah Hammett and Justice Bosio will be in action again after competing in Thailand in November.
The short turnaround between stagings of the event comes as the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation and the R&A move the tournament back to their preferred March time slot after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the 2020 WAAP to be cancelled and the 2021 and 2022 editions to be moved to later in the year.
The change in timing bodes well for the Australians who will head to Singapore battle-hardened following a jam-packed summer of golf.
The champion of the 72-hole stroke play in Singapore will earn exemptions into three major championships – the AIG Women’s Open, the Chevron Championship and the Amundi Evian Championship – and will also be invited to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Korean LPGA’s Hana Financial Group Championship.
“The opportunities available to the six players chosen to represent Australia on the Asia-Pacific stage are simply incredible and we cannot wait to see them test themselves amongst a strong field,” said Brad James, Golf Australia’s General Manager High Performance.
“The squad is youthful with Justice and Keeley only recently emerging from the junior ranks, Sarah and Jazy are still juniors themselves and Caitlin and Abbie are only 20. That’s very exciting because they bring a fresh energy and they’re hungry to learn, improve and perform.
“The six of them all made impressive strides in 2022 and having the chance to represent their country with exemptions into major championships on the line will be a brilliant step in their development.”
Bosio, the Golf Australia Order of Merit winner, will lead the charge to become the first Australian to win the event – Kelsey Bennett’s runner-up finish in Abu Dhabi in 2021 is the best performance by an Australian to date – after she was the best of the Australians in the 2022 WAAP with her top-20 result.
She is in good form after coming runner-up at the Australian Amateur for a second straight year earlier this month and nearly cracking the top-ten at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open in December.
Karrie Webb scholarship recipient Peirce and teen sensation Hammett will be eager to register a career-best showing on the international stage after first gaining a taste of foreign conditions last year.
Two of the newcomers have already made their mark in international competition with Marx winning the IMG Academy Junior World Championship and Teasdale claiming the English Women’s Amateur Championship in 2022.
Marx was co-captain of the victorious Victorian team at last year’s Australian Interstate Teams Matches and earning the chance to don the Australian uniform has been on her radar for some time.
“It was great to get an international win and get my name out there,” Marx said. “It’s pretty unreal to be able to represent the green and gold.
“I can’t believe it. It’s been time in the making. I was hoping to get a start last year but it’s good that my golf is proving itself to get in the team this year.
“I’ve been working really hard now that I’ve finished school and I want to be making as many teams as I can. There’s nothing holding me back so I’ve put in a lot of effort.”
Teasdale meanwhile feels vindicated for her decision last year to head over to the United Kingdom early to avoid having to quarantine upon returning home to Perth from her victory at the Riversdale Cup in Melbourne.
“I couldn’t believe it when I found out,” she said. “I’ve been to Asia before and really liked the food, the golf courses, everything. So I’m really excited to head back there.
“Winning in England gave me a lot of confidence and now being chosen to represent Australia makes it feel like it was all worth it.”
Roberts is the sole member of the team without tasting international competition but the teenager from Bendigo has pieced together an impressive record on home shores with victories in junior competition and she made both cuts at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open last month.
Club: Caboolture (QLD)
Best recent results: Runner-up Australian Amateur (2022 & 2023), Winner Keperra Bowl (2022), 11th ISPS HANDA Australian Open (2022)
Club: Royal Adelaide (SA)
Best recent results: Winner South Australian Amateur (2022), Winner Rene Erichsen Salver (2022), Winner Tasmanian Open Championship (2022)
Club: Emerald Lakes (QLD)
Best recent results: Winner NSW Amateur (2022), Winner NSW Junior (2022), Winner Katherine Kirk Classic (2022)
Club: Heritage (VIC)
Best recent results: Winner IMG Academy Junior World Championship (2022), Winner Tasmanian Amateur (2022), Third Australian Amateur (2022)
Club: Belvoir Park (VIC)
Best recent results: Winner Murray River Junior Masters (2022), Runner-up Tasmanian Amateur (2022), Runner-up Victorian Junior Open (2022)
Club: Royal Fremantle (WA)
Best recent results: Winner English Women’s Amateur (2022), Winner Bowra & O’Dea Women’s Classic (2022), Winner Riversdale Cup (2022)
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