Twenty-one players have been named in the men’s and women’s GolfWA State Squads for 2024.
Nine players make up the women’s squad, while an even dozen are selected in the men’s. Of these, five make the step up from junior squads for the first time and two earn their first GolfWA call-ups.
In the women’s squad, Abbie Teasdale (Royal Fremantle GC), Amie Phobubpa (Joondalup CC), Erina Tan and Amanda Gan (both Mount Lawley GC) make up the experienced spine with all four having consistently represented WA at junior and open-age interstate matches in recent years.
Valerie Khuu, Ruby Cotton and Sophie Williams (all Mount Lawley) retain their places from the 2023 squad and are joined by 14-year-old clubmate Isabella Leniartek, who earns her first call-up to the open squad.
The final squad member is Gosnells GC’s Sasha Hofman, who returns to state reckoning for the first time since 2019 after a strong second half to the year that saw her secure a top-10 finish at the Bowra & O’Dea Women’s Classic and partner Sophie Williams to the state women’s foursomes title.
Teasdale, meanwhile, the reigning WA Women’s Amateur champion, may yet drop out of contention should she attain playing rights on the Ladies’ European Tour at Qualifying School this week.
The men’s squad once again features state captain Connor Fewkes (Goldfields GC), Tom Addy (Joondalup CC), Jordan Doull (Mount Lawley GC) and Joseph Buttress (WAGC), all of whom represented WA in last year’s Australian Interstate Teams Matches in Sydney.
Michael Hanrahan Smith (Cottesloe) and Josiah Edwards (Gosnells GC) maintain their places from the 2023 squad, while 15-year-old Ollie Marsh (Wanneroo GC) and 18-year-old George Barclay (Joondalup CC) make the step up after both represented WA in the Junior Interstate Matches earlier this year.
Mount Lawley’s Ken Gao and Joondalup CC’s Lachie Hall are welcomed back to the fold after being part of junior squads in previous years, leaving Ryan Gault (Lake Karrinyup CC) and Zach Capelli (Royal Fremantle GC) as the new faces in the squad.
The call-up was extra sweet for Capelli – a close friend of rising global star Min Woo Lee – given the injury problems that plagued him throughout his junior years.
“At one stage I had about 20 months off the game completely due to a back injury, and have spent about three-and-a-half years out of the last eight on the sidelines,” Capelli told GolfWA.
“Thanks to the help of Ritchie Smith, Marty McInnes and Noel Patterson, I’ve slowly worked myself back to being able to play and practice as much as I want in the last couple of years. It’s awesome to be in consideration for the state team.”
Crucial few months lie ahead
With the Australian Interstate Matches taking place on the Gold Coast in May, the players will have to hit the ground running in 2024 to impress the selection panel.
Marc Pike, GolfWA’s Game Development & High Performance Manager, said: ” It’s great to be able to have a closer look at some players who haven’t been in the GolfWA squads before, and those who have worked their way back in after a period of absence.
“We’ll be looking for all the athletes to bring their best to every tournament and squad training session. If not competing in Golf Australia Order of Merit events, they will be expected to commit to all the WA ranking events to ensure they’re regularly competing at the highest levels.
“We’re very excited to see which athletes step up in the next few months to secure their spot on the plane to the Gold Coast.”
GolfWA State Squads 2024
Isabella Leniartek; Amanda Gan; Valerie Khuu; Sophie Williams; Erina Tan; Ruby Cotton (all Mount Lawley); Sasha Hofman (Gosnells); Amie Phobubpa (Joondalup); Abbie Teasdale (Royal Fremantle)
Jordan Doull; Ken Gao (both Mount Lawley); Michael Hanrahan Smith (Cottesloe); Connor Fewkes (Goldfields); Joseph Buttress (WAGC); Josiah Edwards (Gosnells); Ollie Marsh (Wanneroo); Tom Addy; Lachlan Hall; George Barclay (all Joondalup); Zach Capelli (Royal Fremantle); Ryan Gault (Lake Karrinyup)
In related news, GolfWA’s junior state squads were announced last week. Full details here.