Date: March 13, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Top Aussie trio earn Sirikit selection

Victorian Stephanie Bunque will represent her country for the first time after today being selected in the Australia’s Queen Sirikit Cup team.

Bunque, a member at Victoria Golf Club, will join in-form duo Grace Kim, of Sydney’s Avondale Golf Club, and Becky Kay, of Coolangatta-Tweed Heads on the Gold Coast, to compete in Thailand in May.

The 40th edition, to be played at Bangkok’s Thana City, is the third under the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation’s banner, but it has long been recognised as the region’s chief women’s team competition with the best two individual scores counting to a team total across three days.

Not surprisingly, Korea has been the dominant force, particularly in recent years, with 19 total victories since the country’s first in 1989.

Australia has won nine times to rank second and is the only country to have beaten Korea since 2007 when, in 2013, Minjee Lee, Su Oh and Grace Lennon were victorious.

Bunque, 20, who won the Victorian Amateur Championship in December, was elated to learn of her first national call-up.

"I feel beyond excited and grateful to be able to represent my country and play against the elite females in the Asia-Pacific region,” Bunque beamed.

“It's been a goal of mine to be selected for this team for a while and I'm so happy that I've been given this opportunity to play this year.

"What I'm looking forward to most is playing as a team and sharing these experiences – and hopefully triumphs – with the girls.

“It should be a fun week regardless and I already can't wait for it to begin!”

Highly respected Queensland-based PGA member Virginia Irwin will coach the team, to be managed by Golf Australia’s female pathway manager Stacey Peters.

Kim, who played in the recent ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open courtesy of her Australian Junior triumph last year, is becoming something of a regular in Asia, having competed in the recent Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific in Singapore and then going undefeated in the Asia-Pacific team’s thumping Patsy Hankins Trophy triumph over Europe in Qatar last week.

Kay was triumphant at last week’s time-honoured Riversdale Cup in Melbourne and has been in good form throughout summer, beginning with her victory in last year’s Queensland Stroke Play Championship.

Kim leads Bunque with Kay third in the current Karrie Webb Series standings with just two events to play.