GolfWA has named a formidable lineup of young talent to contest the Jack Newton International Junior Classic in NSW this September.
Three debutants and five experienced state representatives make up the eight-strong GolfWA team for the prestigious championship, which draws some of the top junior talent from across the APAC region to Cypress Hills Golf & Country Club each year.
Earning a call-up to represent WA for the first time are Kortni Houston (Lakelands), Spencer Harrison (Royal Perth) and Nate Johnson (Joondalup CC), all of whom have raised their game to new heights in 2023.
GolfWA Talent Development Program athlete Houston is a regular sight at the top of leaderboards in girls events, and she excelled in both junior and women’s pennants this season.
She also reached the semi-finals of the Women’s Amateur Championship of WA in March after deposing of past champions Amie Phobubpa and Celine Chen along the way.
Joondalup’s Johnson, 14, surged into the team after winning July’s Drummond Golf Junior Boys Amateur Championship and claiming T3rd in the Cobra Puma Junior Championship in back-to-back weeks.
Harrison, meanwhile, also 14, has enjoyed a season of consistent improvement culminating in T8th at the Cobra Puma and T5th at the Drummond Golf Junior Am, where he won the Sub-Junior Boys title for those under the age of 15.
The trio will be joined by comparative veterans Ollie Marsh, Josiah Edwards, Isabella Leniartek, Valerie Khuu and Erina Tan – all perennial contenders for the state’s significant junior titles who have represented GolfWA at interstate events or in interstate teams matches.
Amongst their many combined accolades were recent victories for Marsh and Leniartek in the respective boys’ and girls’ divisions at the Cobra Puma Junior Championship, while Tan won the Drummond Golf Junior Girls Amateur crown a week later.
Shonna Gobby, Chair of GolfWA’s Selection Committee, heralded the strength of the team, saying: “Our selection this year gives us a great mix of athletes, some with past state experience and others that are demonstrating the potential to be future state players. All are in excellent form.
“We are confident they will all acquit themselves well while gaining valuable experience of competing against Australia’s most promising juniors.”
The Jack Newton International Junior Classic takes place at Cypress Hills from September 26-29. The 72-hole stroke play tournament is a ranking event on both the Golf Australia Junior Order of Merit and the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Past champions include Shani Waugh, Rachel Hetherington, Aaron Baddeley, Sarah Kemp, Rick Kulacz and Minjee Lee.
GolfWA team lineup
Girls: Kortni Houston (Lakelands), Valerie Khuu, Isabella Leniartek, Erina Tan (all Mount Lawley)
Boys: Josiah Edwards (Gosnells), Spencer Harrison (Royal Perth), Nate Johnson (Joondalup CC), Ollie Marsh (Wanneroo)