20 May 2022 | Amateur golf |
Aussie trio gunning for Asia-Pacific glory
by Dane Heverin
The Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation’s Queen Sirikit Cup is back next week for the first time since 2019 and the Australian team of Kirsten Rudgeley, Caitlin Peirce and Kelsey Bennett are ready to own the international stage.
The event, which is named after Queen Sirkit of Thailand, will be played at Singapore’s Laguna National Golf and Country Club over 72 holes of strokeplay from May 24-27 with each team member contributing to the overall team score.
South Korea have dominated the tournament in recent times having won every edition since 2007 except for one, when the Australian team of Minjee Lee, Su Oh and Grace Lennon lifted the trophy in 2013.
Along with Lee, major winners Karrie Webb (1992-94) and Hannah Green (2014-16) have launched their careers from competing in this event and the current crop of Australian players are honoured to be following in their footsteps. They are also hoping to go one better than the team of Steph Kyriacou, Doey Choi and Julienne Soo who finished runner-up at Glenelg in 2019.
“I’m looking forward to it, especially with the two girls I’m travelling with as well, it will be awesome. I’ve never played in the event as well, and apart from Changi airport I’ve never been to Singapore, so I’m looking forward to it, it will be good fun,” Rudgeley said.
The world number 25 amateur is Australia’s top-ranked player and is no stranger to the international scene having played in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur earlier this year and she also won trophies across the United Kingdom in 2021, while for fellow Karrie Webb Scholarship holder, Peirce, it will be a brand new experience.
“It’s pretty exciting to be representing Australia for the first time and it’s the first time going anywhere in a while,” Peirce said.
“I got the news about this at the same time I got the news about the Karrie Webb Scholarship so it was all very exciting. It should all be a lot of fun.”
The third member of the team, Bennett, is a proven performer when representing her country having come runner-up at the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship in the United Arab Emirates last year, and she said the chance to play in such lucrative events has resisted her from any temptation to turn professional just yet.
“I just knew there was a massive amateur schedule this year so I was pretty keen to do it and I’m heading off to the US soon. This tournament will definitely be one of the highlights,” Bennett said.
The Sydneysider is off to the States to attempt to qualify for the US Amateur as well as teeing it up in the North & South Amateur and the Western Amateur in a bid to get selected for the World Amateur Team Championships in France this August.
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