Meet your future heroes

Posted by on March 05, 2019  /   Posted in golf news

The teams of the Queen Sirikit Cup during the opening ceremony at the Glenelg Golf Club today.

Their names are currently best known to their families.

But give it five years and history shows that the budding superstars of the Queen Sirikit Cup will have monikers all over the world.

The next wave of heroes from Asia and the Pacific finished their preparations for the 41st edition of the female team championship at the Glenelg Golf Club in Adelaide.

And although the context of the original tournament of 1979 – in order to foster goodwill and friendships between participants – is still correct, there is no doubt that the level of play of so many of the 14 competing countries is so high that an exceptionally high standard competition is all but guaranteed.

Korea, the standard bearer of women's golf around the world, will rightly wear the tag as nominal favorite for the three-day event, with previous Korean teams winning an amazing 11 of the past 12 Queen Sirikit Cups, including last year in Thailand.

Names from those Korean superpowers include individual champions Hyun-kung Park (twice), Hye-jin Choi, former world No.1 So-Yeon Ryu and Australian Open champion Ha Na Jang among a host of other brilliant world-ranked players.

But no matter how good those teams are, other regional powers come to the fore, especially Thailand and Japan, who both ended up in a Korea stroke last year and returned full of hunger

For some, Japan may even be the team to beat this week, especially with the three members of their impressive team who have spent large amounts of time training and play in Australia this summer.

The national national coach of Japan, Gareth Jones, a proud South Australian who knows just about every blade of grass on the impeccable lay-out of Glenelg, is calmly convinced that his trio will have the opportunity to play the first title of the country since 2002. Conquer Malaysia.

"I think we have a very strong team Yuri Yoshida, despite being in her first Sirikit, has gained a lot of experience in Australia in recent years, Tsubasa (Kajitani) was almost Aussie Am champ during her first visit here this year and Miyu Goto is also a good player.

"So I think they have a big chance this week, and it's clear that the big teams from Korea, Thailand and Australia will be competitive at home as well.

"But the girls' practice in the past few days was great and they play well at a good time.

"We are practicing here, this is our home away from home, we have training camps here and like to play in Australia and it is an important part of our program to offer the girls and boys more international experience, but especially in jumping courses where dry and hopefully warm and windy – all those things we like as Australian golfers and look to experience when we bring teams here. "

"And it's absolutely important for us to make progress in these competitions, we've achieved some great results in the past year or two – we have not won this since I've been involved, but we're getting closer.

"We missed a play-off last year with a shot and it improves every year, but the girls are better prepared than before.

"We dedicate all our efforts to the preparation and hopefully they just let their talent go and play."

Host Country Australia is represented by Victorian Julienne Soo and Doey Choi from New South Wales and Steph Kyriacou, all of whom are inspired to represent their country for the first time at this level.

New Zealand is traditionally competitive, while much is expected from the Philippines, Chinese Taipei, China and the emerging Indian team, which will be led by the talented Anika Varma, already a +3 handicapper and less than 15 years old.

And although there is an individual competition, it remains very subordinate to the team event. Each country uses its two best stroke scores for each of the three rounds to determine a winner on Friday afternoon.

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