Date: May 03, 2007
Author: Alistair Hogg

Australian team prepares for Commonwealth Tournament

By Alistair Hogg A strong Australian contingent for next week&aposs Commonwealth Tournament will be spearheaded by 2007 Australian Amateur Champion Sunny Park (NSW) and runner-up, Emma Bennett (VIC). The pair was named in the team that along with Frances Bondad (NSW), Stephanie Na (SA) and Helen Oh (NSW). Park and Bennett contested one of the most memorable Australian Amateur Championship finals at New South Wales Golf Club last month with Park erasing a five-hole deficit in the early stages to triumph on the 38th hole. The pair will combine their talents along with their team mates as Australia bids to win a fourth consecutive Commonwealth Trophy. The event will be played May 7-11 at Royal Johannesburg Golf Club, South Africa and comprises of foursomes and singles match play. Australia begins its campaign against the host nation on the opening day before facing Great Britain on day two. The girls are then given a rest day before rounding out the event with clashes against Canada and New Zealand. Coach Ian Triggs said, “This Australian team is one of the strongest assembled in years. It won&apost be easy to win given the amount of talent in amateur golf around the world at the moment, but I am confident that our girls have the goods. They have proven themselves worthy of selection and I&aposm sure they will come together well and perform strongly in South Africa.” The tournament marks Bennett&aposs ninth Australian team as the 22-year old continues toward her ambition of turning professional later this year. It is also Na&aposs second successive national selection having represented Australian at the Queen Sirikit in the Philippines in March. Bondad won the Australian Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Indooroopilly in February while Oh is a former Australian Amateur Champion having won the prestigious event in 2006. Ian Triggs has been named coach and will be accompanied by Hayley Wilkinson as Team Captain. Wilkinson is an elite player in her own right having captured the 2001 Riversdale Cup and played an integral part of the Long Beach State golf team in her four years at US College. The Commonwealth Tournament began in 1959 and is contested every four years between Australia, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. AUSTRALIAN TEAM Emma Bennett, 22, Victoria Frances Bondad, 19, New South Wales Stephanie Na, 17, South Australia Helen Oh, 18, New South Wales Sunny Park, 21, New South Wales Ian Triggs (coach) Hayley Wilkinson (captain) SCHEDULE Monday 7 May: Australia v South Africa Tuesday 8 May: Australia v Great Britain Thursday 10 May: Australia v Canada Friday 11 May: Australia v New Zealand