Date: September 26, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussie girls up for challenge

Some crack teams are being promoted at this week’s World Junior Girls Championship in Canada by virtue of their world rankings.

Don’t mention that to the Australian trio.

Victorians Alizza Hetherington and Gabi Ruffels have been joined in Ottawa by young Sydneysider Steph Kyriacou as decided underdogs in a 20-team fight.

All three are ranked north of 600 based largely on a system that benefits more experienced players, particularly those who travel across North America and Europe to play each northern summer.

So don’t be misled into thinking our young team is without a chance.

Golf Australia high performance director Brad James said each player selected was a fierce competitor.

“There’s no doubt some other teams have more international experience, but our young athletes all have that desire to push themselves and really play well in team situations,” James said.

“We’ve had a few good results this year in team scenarios and I know these athletes are keen to fly the flag for us in Canada.

“All three have tasted success already this year with Alizza the reigning Victorian girls’ and open-age amateur champ, Steph part of the New South Wales Junior Interstate Series-winning team and Gabi a key part of the Victorian Interstate Series-winning combination.

“So they know how to get it done when it matters and we have high hopes for them all.”

The team will be coached and managed by South Australian professional Sarah King.

The event is in its fourth year and returns to The Marshes Golf Club, a magnificent course in the Canadian capital for the second time with teams from Sweden, Switzerland and the United States among the favourites on paper.

The course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr and Jr, features six par-threes and six par-fives and will be a great test of the field’s shot-making abilities.

The 72-hole stroke play tournament features team and individual components with the honour roll to date including wins to the USA, South Korea and Philippines in the team section. Reigning Australian Amateur champ and newly minted professional Hye Jin Choi led the Koreans to victory in 2015, while Brooke Henderson was a star for her homeland in 2014.