By Neal Maidment
Ten of the state’s best junior golfers have been named in the WA team for April’s Australian Junior Interstate Team Matches in Tasmania.
Five boys and five girls will contest the mixed-team, round-robin match play competition with high hopes of success after WA went close to the overall team title in 2022 – missing out to NSW by just 0.5 points.
There was, however, glory for the WA Girls last year, their team of Amie Phobubpa, Sheridan Clancy, Jorja Hinson-Tolchard and Celine Chen winning four and halving one of their five matches to top the girls’ division. The WA Boys, meanwhile, were unlucky not to finish higher than 4th after some thrilling close encounters.
Gosnells’ Jorja Hinson-Tolchard, aged 17, will captain the WA team having made her debut in the event in 2022. Amongst her teammates are reigning WA Women’s Amateur champion Celine Chen (Joondalup) and 2022 Golf Australia Junior Order of Merit winner Joseph Buttress (WAGC).
The team’s strength in depth is also shown through the presence of George Barclay and Josiah Edwards, the respective 2023 South Australian Junior Masters and Tasmanian Junior Amateur champions; as well as Amanda Gan, Isabella Leniartek, Erina Tan, Rocco Cucchiara and Ollie Marsh, all five of whom played key roles in their teams winning the Division 1 titles in the 2023 GolfWA Junior Pennants season.
WA Team Manager Catherine Strickland is relishing the prospect of tackling the Interstate matches with such a strong squad. “After enjoying success with a win for the Junior Girls in 2022, we certainly have a taste for it and hope to improve this year bringing home gold for both Junior Teams,” she said.
“(Coach) Alex McKay and I look forward to building on the experience we gained last year with this new group of superbly talented kids. They are all extremely committed and will be ready to put in some fierce match play competition against the best junior golfers in Australia.”
Looking more broadly at the state of junior golf in WA, Chair of GolfWA’s Selection Committee, Shonna Gobby, added: “I am thrilled with the depth of talent within the junior game at the moment. There is a lot of competition, with a lot of players producing top-quality golf on a consistent basis. That can only help raise standards across the board.
“We are a very lucky state to have such a wealth of wonderful clubs, facilities, coaches, athletes, and volunteers.”
WA Junior Interstate Team
Girls: Celine Chen (Joondalup); Amanda Gan, Isabella Leniartek, Erina Tan (all Mount Lawley); Jorja Hinson-Tolchard (Gosnells, Team Captain)
Boys: George Barclay (Joondalup); Joseph Buttress (WAGC); Rocco Cucchiara (Royal Fremantle); Ollie Marsh (Wanneroo); Josiah Edwards (Gosnells)
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