GolfWA has announced the 20 players who will form its Junior State Squads for 2024.
Announced annually, the GolfWA Junior State Squads are a pool of players aged 17 and under from which WA teams are selected for the Australian Interstate Teams Matches.
With several dependable regulars having departed the junior ranks in 2023, there are over a dozen new faces in the girls’ and boys’ squads, while a strong spine of experienced state players and tournament winners remain.
The girls’ squad has seven new representatives who will join up with existing squad members Isabella Leniartek, Valerie Khuu and Chloe Veeran. Leniartek, in particular, had a breakthrough year in 2023 that saw her win the Cobra Puma Junior Championship and represent WA in the Junior Interstate series.
The new players are Mount Lawley GC duo Alice Tonts and Aprileen Sirait, Isobel Dorrington (Lake Karrinyup), Elise Gavin (Cottesloe GC), Danielle Rey Del Val (Lakelands CC) and Emma Clouston (Joondalup CC), while Gosnells GC’s highly regarded Halia Edwards, aged just 11, becomes one of the youngest players to be called up to a GolfWA squad.
Halia’s older brother Josiah Edwards, 16, retains his place in the boys’ squad after another strong year that saw him win the Australian Boys’ Order of Merit and routinely compete for titles both at home and interstate.
Wanneroo GC’s Ollie Marsh also stays in the squad. The 15-year-old won the Men’s WA Amateur Championship, the City of Perth Amateur and the Cobra Puma Junior Championship in a standout year.
Royal Fremantle’s Mandeep Singh is the third member of the 2023 boys’ squad to maintain his place, while there were call-ups for Nate Johnson (Joondalup), Spencer Harrison (Royal Perth), Liam Sullivan (The Vines), Bailey Pilapil (WAGC), Matthew McLaughlin and Declan Pereira (both Lakelands CC) and Thomas Pyke (Royal Fremantle GC).
All seven newcomers displayed consistent excellence throughout 2023 with notable victories for Johnson in the Drummond Golf Junior Amateur and Pereira in the Drummond Golf 54-Hole Junior Classic. In addition, both Harrison and McLaughlin came through pre-qualifying to make the final field for the WA Open in October.
Opportunity knocks for new faces
The final interstate teams are selected through the use of various criteria including stroke averages, World Amateur Golf Rankings, performances in state and interstate events, personal attributes and player form.
Marc Pike, GolfWA’s Game Development & High Performance Manager, said: “A number of our most consistent juniors for the past couple of years are no longer eligible for selection due to age and they include Erina Tan, Joe Buttress, Celine Chen, Amanda Gan and George Barclay, who have won a lot of titles between them.
“While they’ll be missed, this represents a great opportunity for our new faces to step up and impose themselves in our early season events as they look to break into the interstate teams. This competition will be good for everyone.
“Our thanks to the GolfWA Selection Panel, which always has the difficult task of choosing between a large number of very talented players to decide who makes the final squads.”
The first training sessions for the new squads will take place in December and January. GolfWA will also announce its open-age squads and state coaching set-up imminently.
There is extra incentive for the players this year with the 2024 junior interstate matches being played on home soil at Royal Fremantle Golf Club in April.
GolfWA Junior State Squads 2024
Isabella Leniartek; Valerie Khuu; Aprileen Sirait; Alice Tonts (all Mount Lawley); Isobel Dorrington (Lake Karrinyup); Elise Gavin (Cottesloe); Chloe Veeran (Busselton); Halia Edwards (Gosnells); Danielle Rey Del Val (Lakelands); Emma Clouston (Joondalup)
Josiah Edwards (Gosnells); Ollie Marsh (Wanneroo); Nate Johnson (Joondalup); Spencer Harrison (Royal Perth); Mandeep Singh (Royal Fremantle); Matthew McLaughlin (Lakelands); Liam Sullivan (The Vines); Bailey Pilapil (WAGC); Declan Pereira (Lakelands); Thomas Pyke (Royal Fremantle)