Three of Australia’s most prodigious young talents have been added to Golf Australia’s national squad.
Queenslander Louis Dobbelaar, West Australian Min Woo Lee and Victorian Cameron John have been added as junior members.
Aside from rewarding recent outstanding performances, Golf Australia high performance director Brad James said their selection would enable them to have access to more international tournaments, along with increased resources and expertise to help them take the next step.
“All the national coaches agree that Louis, Min Woo and Cam have not only started to put some great results on the board, but that they each have demonstrated great development processes and the drive to push harder again,” James said.
“By earning berths in the national squad, we reward them, but also encourage them to take advantage of all the teams and programs they now have at their disposal.”
Dobbelaar, mentored by Cam Smith’s coach Grant Field, already has an impressive resume at just 14 years old.
The Brookwater and Royal Queensland member was runner-up in the San Diego Junior Masters and US Kids World Golf Championship in 2014 when aged 12.
He won the Queensland Junior title last month and represented Australia at the Asia Pacific Confederation Junior Championship in Taiwan in August, finishing a creditable 11th in the teams’ event against competitors up to five years his senior.
Lee, 17, has made great progress in the past year.
Coached by his older sister and LPGA Tour star Minjee’s mentor Ritchie Smith, Lee won the recent Aaron Baddeley Junior International Championship in San Diego, sealing his entry to this year’s Emirates Australian Open at Royal Sydney.
He fired a course-record 64 against the pros to lead after the first round off the WA PGA in Kalgoorlie in October, then backed up at his home Royal Fremantle course a week later with a T10 finish in the WA Open after being right in contention with five holes to play.
Earlier in the year, he was joint low amateur at the Spirit International in Texas.
He was the West Australian Amateur champion at Hartfield last March, then aged 16, and represented Australia in the Argentine Amateur and Copa Tailhade in Buenos Aires in November having played for WA in boys’ and men’s teams for the past three years.
John, 16, is coached by Tim Wendell and is part of the Rowville Secondary College high performance program.
He won the Victorian Junior Masters to start a 2015 campaign that featured success around the world and back. He was second alongside fellow national squad member Becky Kay in the Asia Pacific Confederation Junior Championship teams’ event in Taiwan in August.
The Waverley and Commonwealth golf club member then went one better with victory in the 120th Argentine Amateur Championship in Buenos Aires in November and capped a stellar year with victory in the Victorian Amateur Championship.
“All three athletes have produced results at national and international levels, which is impressive at their respective ages,” James said.
“They now have the opportunity to further their development with increased access to resources through the national program and we’re confident they have the dedication to take advantage of that chance.”
The trio joins Gold Coast teen Kay as junior national squad athletes, with Sydney’s Cam Davis, Melbourne’s Brett Coletta, Perth’s Hannah Green and Wodonga’s Zach Murray the “senior” members.
Former tier one squad member Ryan Ruffels has turned professional, making his debut this week on the US PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines near San Diego and added to the Golf Australia rookie pro squad for 2016.