Players to watch: 2018 Women's World Amateur Team Championships

Espirito Santo Trophy_ Medalists 2022
<b>Espirito Santo Trophy_ Medalist 2022 </b> (Copyright USGA/Steven Gibbons)
Steven Gibbons/USGA Museum


Magdalena Simmermacher, 22, is representing Argentina in the WWATC for the third time. In 2017 Simmermacher won the Argentine Women’s National Championship and aided Argentina’s National Team in earning the Copa Los Andes title. She played collegiately at Old Dominion University, where they won the Conference USA Championship in 2017 and she was named Conference USA Player of the Year for the 2017-2018 season.


Grace Kim won the 2017 Australian Girls’ Amateur and competed at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. She was the runner-up at this year’s Australian Girls’ Amateur and The Avondale Amateur.


Emma Spitz, 18, is No. 58 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). She recently won the Girls British Ladies Open Amateur and has scored victories in the Italian Ladies Championship twice (2015 and 2018) and the Austrian Ladies Match Play in 2015. She was the individual stroke-play medalist in the 2015 European Ladies Team Championship and won consecutive Austrian Ladies Stroke Play titles in 2015 and 2016.


Captain Tam Luccioli is a seven-time Belgian Champion and has competed in WWATC twice, in 2004 and 2006. Luccioli notes that her - wood is older than the three Belgian women competing in this year’s WWATC.


Captain Roberto Gomez is no stranger to the WATC. He has played on behalf of the men 12 times and captained the 2012 men’s team. This year, he will be captaining both the men and women in the WATC.  Gomez is a four-time champion of the Brazilian Amateur Champion, winning in four different decades.


Captain Stanko Marinov played in the 2012 WATC in Turkey and captained the team in 2016 Championship. Marinov is also a three-time national champion in judo.


Sofia Morgan, 16, is not the only Morgan competing in the WATC this year, her brother, Gabriel Morgan Birke, is competing for the men’s team and her father, Gabriel Morgan, is the men’s team captain for Chile. Sofia helped her team capture Chile’s best finish in 17 years at the 2018 South American Junior Championship.

Captain Paz Echeverría has played in the WWATC five times on behalf of Chile and won the South American Championship in 2009 and 2010 before playing as a professional. She won the Equatorial Guinea Open in 2016 and was just reinstated as an amateur this year.


Tze-Han “Heather” Lin, 18, made the cut in the 2017 Australian Open and helped her team capture the title at the 2017 IMG Junior World Championship. Last year in the Taiwan National Games, she earned the bronze medal as an individual and the gold as a team. Lin’s most memorable golf experience is meeting her favorite player, Rory McIlroy.


Silvia Garces, 24, tied for ninth in the 2015 NCAA Championship, playing for Tulane University (2016 graduate). She competed in the 2016 WWATC.

Valentina Giraldo, 21, won six collegiate titles for Jacksonville State University in her junior season, including the 2018 Kiawah Island Intercollegiate and the 2018 Little Rock ASU Invitational. This is her first time playing in the WWATC.


Captain Petr Savrda captained his team to victory in the 2016 European Young Masters in Switzerland and will be making his third appearance as captain in the WATC. Savrda used to be one of the best junior tennis players in Czech Republic and still just plays golf as a hobby.


Malene Kroelboell Hansen, 22, is playing in second first WWATC. She won the Danish International Ladies Amateur and Wilbroe Cup in 2016. She recently graduated from Costal Carolina University, where she captured the 2018 Sunbelt Conference Championship.


Playing captain Brenda Corrie-Kuehn has many family connections to the World Amateur Team Championships. The first woman inducted in the Dominican Golf Hall of Fame, she played in three Espirito Santo Championships (1986 for Dominican Republic and 1996 and 1998 for the USA, winning in 1998) and her daughter, Rachel, a high school senior is on the 2018 Dominican team. In addition, Corrie-Kuehn’s father, Jack, played in the first Eisenhower Championship for Venezuela in 1958 (also for Venezuela) in 1960 and then for the Dominican Republic in 1966, 1972, 1974, 1976 and 1980. Her sister Silvia Corrie also played in three WWATCs for the Dominican Republic and her mother Carmen Corrie was the Dominican Republic captain in 1986.


Captain Janet Melville, 60, won the 1978 Ladies British Open, one of only three amateurs to win the championship.  She is captaining her first WATC. Melville captured the 1987 Ladies British Amateur Championship and three Ladies English Senior Championships.

Sophie Lamb, 20, was the low amateur at the 2017 RICOH Women's British Open. She tied for second at the English Women’s Amateur Championship this year and represented Great Britain & Ireland at the Curtis Cup. Lamb won the 2016 Ladies British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship and was the runner-up at the 2017 Irish Women’s Open Championship.

Annabell Fuller, 15, tied for second at this year’s English Women’s Amateur Championship and was the youngest member of Great Britain & Ireland’s Curtis Cup team. She advanced to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur in August. Fuller won the 2017 English Girls Open Amateur Championship in 2017 and was the runner-up at the Annika Invitational.


Kiira Riihijarvi, 19, earned All-America second-team honors in her first season at the University of Tampa. She became the first golfer in program history to earn a bid to the NCAA South Super Regional, where she won the individual championship at the NCAA Regional to advance to the NCAA Division II National Championship.


Captain Amandine Vincent played in the WWATC twice (1994 and 1996) and has won the Mid-Amateur French Club Team Championship four times (2009, 2012, 2016, 2017). Among her many individual titles is the 1994 British Girls and the 1995 French International Match Play Championship.

Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, 18, is playing in her second consecutive WWATC. In 2016 she won the St. Rules Trophy at St. Andrews, the only french woman to ever do so, and was a member of the European Team in the Junior Ryder Cup.


Nalathai Vongjalorn, 20, is playing in her third consecutive WWATC. She has won the Nissan Guam Amateur Open six times and placed runner-up twice. Vongjalorn was named her high school golf team’s MVP for all four seasons.


Mimi Ho, 22, just finished her senior season with Fresno State, where she recorded a career-best finish, third place, at the Fresno State Classic in 2017. She earned Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar honors three-consecutive times. This is Ho’s third appearance at the WWATC.


Ragnhildur Kristinsdottor is a three-time Icelandic team handball champion. Playing for Eastern Kentucky, she won the Pinehurst Intercollegiate in 2018.


Diksha Dagar, 17, has set records at Carton House. At the World Deaf Golf Championships in July, she shot a record 17-under-par through 54 holes to win the ladies competition by 26 strokes. In addition, she has won the 2016 Chandigarh Ladies Amateur, 2015 Eastern India Ladies Amateur and 2015 West Bengal Ladies Amateur. She has several runner-up finishes in tournaments in India. This is her second time competing in the WWATC.


Olivia Mehaffey, 20, just completed her sophomore season at Arizona State University. She won the 2016 Irish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship and Welsh Ladies Open Stroke Play Championship. Mehaffey competed for the GB&I in the 2018 Curtis Cup and was selected to represent the International side of the 2018 Palmer Cup.


Caterina Don, 17, won the Italian U18 Match Play Championship earlier this year for the second consecutive time. She has received the silver medal in golf from the Italian Committee in 2016 and was honored by the city of Turin in 2017 for her success in the sport. Don used to be a competitive skier with two Top-5 finishes at the Italian Championship.

Alessia Nobilio, 16, was a part of the victorious European Team Girls Championship Team in both 2016 and 2017. Last year, Nobilio finished runner-up at the World Junior Golf Championship and was a member of the Junior Solheim Cup Team representing Europe.


Captain Santa Puče will be captaining her fourth WWATC. She founded the Riga Golf School, the first golf school for youth in Latvia, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. She has also played on the Latvian National Women’s Ice Hockey Team.


Siti Shaari, 18, just finished her freshman season with the University of South Alabama where she was voted Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the year and received first-team All-Conference honors. She clinched the title for the Jaguars at the Bama Beach Bash and finished T-3 at the USA Intercollegiate.


Captain Marcela Coghlan will serve in that role for the seventh time in 2016. She has been Mexico’s women’s captain at the WWATC in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. An accountant, Coghlan was an accomplished high school basketball and volleyball player.


Julianne Alvarez and Wenyung Keh were members of the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship team at the University of Washington, which defeated defending champion Stanford in the final at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club. Keh was also the runner-up in the Asia Pacific Amateur Stroke Play Championship earlier this year.


Michaela Farah, 19, just finished her sophomore season at Purdue University, where she earned second -team All-Big Ten honors after posting three top-10 finishes. She is a two-time Peruvian National Junior Champion (2015 and 2016) and has represented Peru in 12 different championship events.


Seo Yun Kwon, 17, has competed in four LPGA of Korean events this year, with her best finish coming at the NEXEN Saint Nine Masters where she placed 27th. She finished third at the Korean Women’s Amateur and the Bear Creek Cup this year.


Captain Uros Gregoric played in the WATC twice and is captaining the women’s team for the fourth time.


Kaleigh Telfer, 20, represented her province in cricket and is passionate about wildlife and wildlife photography. She won the South African Amateur in 2016 and earned SEC All Freshman Team honors earlier this year at Auburn University.


Albane Valenzuela, 20, was the low amateur at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, finishing 24th. She speaks four languages and was the runner-up in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur, falling to Sophia Schubert, 6 and 5. She recently finished her senior season at Stanford University, Valenzuela was one of three amateurs and the youngest golfer to play in the 2016 Olympic Games. The runner-up in the 2017 European Ladies Amateur Championship, she is a three-time recipient of the Swiss Ladies and Junior Order of Merit and was one of three amateurs to make the cut in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open. Her brother, Alexis, has battled autism and her family has raised more than $300,000 for the foundation – Alexis For Autism.

Elena Moosmann, 16, finished second at the Swiss National Juniors and fourth at the German Girls Open this year. She was the runner-up at the 2018 Spanish International Stroke Play and competed in the European Ladies Team Championship. She also plays floorball

Sena Ersoy,
22, became the Regional Champion of the NJCAA and finished third at the NJCAA Nationals in 2016, competing for Iowa Western. She won four other tournaments for Iowa Western before transferring to Coastal Carolina University. She is a three-time winner at the Turkish Amateur Open and finished fourth at the European Young Masters in 2012. 


Kristen Gillman, 20, won the 2018 U.S Women’s Amateur, defeating Jiwon Jeon. She captured her first U.S. Women’s Amateur title in 2014. Gillman made the cut in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, finishing tied for 27th. She also played for the USA at the 2014 Women’s World Amateur Team. A junior at the University of Alabama, Gillman was named the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-America for the 2016-17 season. At the end of July, Gillman won the Japan LPGA Tour’s Century 21 Ladies’ Tournament.

Jennifer Kupcho, 21, of Westminster, Colo., led every round in claiming the 2017 Canadian Women’s Amateur. In May, she won the NCAA individual title as a junior at Wake Forest University. She is the winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the No. 1 player in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™.

Lilia Vu, 20, of Fountain Valley, Calif., was a semifinalist in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur, falling to Albane Valenzuela, 3 and 2. Vu, who will be a junior at UCLA, was named the WGCA’s Player of the Year, after capturing four collegiate titles in a row and posting the lowest scoring average in UCLA history (70.37). Vu qualified for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open and finished runner-up to USA Curtis Cup teammate Jennifer Kupcho in last year’s Canadian Women's Amateur.

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