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2016 Espirito Santo Storylines

2016 Espirito Santo Trophy -  Storylines

A record 55 teams have entered the 27th Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, surpassing the mark of 53 in Turkey in 2012. Since 2010, at least 50 teams have competed in the Espirito Santo competition: 52 in 2010 in Argentina; 53 in 2012 in Turkey; and 50 in 2014 in Japan.

Two nations are making their first appearances in the Espirito Santo Trophy competition: Bulgaria and Morocco.

Australia is vying to become the first team to win consecutive WWATC titles since the Republic of Korea in 2010 and 2012.

Mexico is making its 22nd appearance in the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship. Its best finishes are tied for sixth in 1966 and seventh in 2014. Since 1986, Mexico has participated in 15 consecutive Espirito Santo Trophy competitions.

Poland is the only team to return the same players who competed in Japan in 2014. Dominika Gradecka, a sophomore at Florida State University, Nastasia Kossacky, a freshman at Auburn University and Dorota Zalewska, the team’s youngest player, who was 14 in Japan, comprise the Polish squad.

Florida State University, with four, has the most current of its current players in the field at WWATC 2016: Dominika Gradecka (POL), Matilda Castren (FIN), and sisters Morgan and Kim Metraux (SUI). In addition, a former Florida State player Maria Salinas (PER) is also playing. “I am extremely proud of our players for working so hard and being chosen to represent their countries in the World Amateur Team Championships,” said Florida State women’s golf coach Amy Bond. “To have five players participating in this incredibly prestigious event is a tremendous honor for them and for our program.”

The University of Miami (Florida) has three current players; Renate Hjelle Grimstad (NOR), Daniela Darquea (ECU) and Dewi Weber (NED).


Leona Maguire, of Ireland, won the Mark H. McCormack Medal in 2016, for holding the No. 1 position in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking™ at the conclusion of the ranking period. It is the second consecutive year Maguire has won the McCormack Medal, joining Lydia Ko, of New Zealand, as the only multiple winners. Ko won the first three McCormack Medals from 2011-13. Maguire has represented Ireland numerous times in international competitions, including the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, and Great Britain and Ireland in three Curtis Cups. Earlier this year, she competed in the U.S. Women’s Open and was the leading amateur in the Ricoh Women’s British Open, finishing tied for 25th. She also is a two-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association first-team All-American for Duke University, where she is currently a junior.

WOMEN’S WORLD AMATEUR GOLF RANKING™ (12 of the Top 25 playing in WWATC)
Through 4 September


1 – Leona Maguire (IRL)
4 – Maria Parra Luque (ESP)
5 – Olivia Mehaffey (IRL)
6 – Mariel Galdiano (USA)
8 – Linnea Strom (SWE)
11 – Katelyn Dambaugh (USA)
12 – Luna Sobron Galmes (ESP)

15 – Hye-Jin Choi (KOR)
17 – Andrea Lee (USA)
18 – Tiffany Chan (HKG)
20 – Mathilda Cappeliez (FRA)
25 – Dewi Weber (NED)


Two Espirito Santo Trophy competitors competed in last month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro: Leona Maguire for the Ireland and Tiffany Chan for Hong Kong, China. Maguire tied for 21st at 280 and Chan was 37th at 288.

USA COLLEGE ALL-AMERICANS (Women’s Golf Coaches Association)
(IRL) Leona Maguire, Duke University;  (SWE) Linnea Strom, Arizona State University; (USA) Katelyn Dambaugh, University of South Carolina

(HKG) Tiffany Chan, University of Southern California; (ESP); Harang Lee, University of Georgia; (SWE) Frida Gustafsson-Spang, East Carolina University

(ECU) Daniela Darquea, University of Miami; (MEX) Maria Fassi, University of Arkansas; (NED  Dewi Weber, University of Miami; (PUR) Maria Torres, University of Florida; (SWE) Emma Henrikson, San Diego State University

Great Britain and Ireland won the 2016 Curtis Cup Match, 11.5-8.5 over the USA at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in Ireland, and six players from the WWATC competed. Andrea Lee and Mariel Galdiano represented the USA, while Leona Maguire and Olivia Mehaffey, of Ireland and Alice Hewson and Meghan MacLaren, of England, played for the victorious GB&I side.

Rose Tarpley, of Guam (54), and Elvira Rastvortseva (13), of Ukraine, are the oldest and youngest players in the field, respectively. Both are playing in their first WWATC. In 2006 in South Africa, Dottie Ardina, of the Philippines, became the youngest competitor at 12 years old. Among the 11 other 13-year-olds to compete in the WWATC are: Jessica Korda (CZE) in 2006 and Lydia Ko (NZL) in 2010.

Tiffany Chan (Hong Kong, China) is making her fifth appearance, most in the field. She was on her country’s team in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 in addition to her place on the 2016 team.
Six players will be competing in their fourth WWATC:
Gudrun Bjorgvinsdottir (Iceland) – 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016
Sena Ersoy (Turkey) – 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016
Katja Pogacar (Slovenia) – 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016
Lucia Polo (Guatemala) – 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016
Maria Torres (Puerto Rico) – 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016
Maria Salinas Valle (Peru) – 2004, 2010, 2012, 2016

The record for most individual appearances is held by Elisabeth Nickhorn (nee Noronha), of Brazil, who played 13 times.

INDIVIDUAL STORYLINES (Alphabetical By Country)

Agustina Zeballos, 15, is representing Argentina in the WWATC for the first time, but has captured individual championships around the world, including the 2016 Thunderbird Invitational, a prestigious American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) event conducted in the United States each May in Arizona.

Karis Davidson, 18, won this year’s Girls’ Australian Amateur and the Western Australia 72-Hole Ladies Stroke Play. She won the Queensland Women’s Amateur Stroke Play and was the runner-up in the Queensland Women’s Match Play. She is playing in her first WWATC.

Hannah Green, 19, finished as the runner-up in this year’s Canadian Amateur as well as the Bowra and O’Dea Women’s Classic for the second consecutive year after winning it in 2013. In August, Green advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, falling to Mathilda Cappeliez.

Emma Spitz, 16, is No. 80 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) and has scored victories in the Italian Ladies Championship 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. This year, she also won the Nations Cup Individual Championship.

Captain Theirry Noteboom has reached the summit of Mont Blanc four times and is the author of two books on team handball. He has a competitive history in sprints and javelin in athletics. This is the third time he is captaining the Belgium side in the WWATC. He served as a physio during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.


Michelle Ledermann, 19, is entering her freshman season at Wichita State. This will be her second time representing Bolivia in the WWATC, having competed two years ago in Japan.

Luiza Altmann, 18, won her second consecutive Brazilian Amateur earlier this year. Last year, she won the Brazilian Junior and the Chilean Junior. Altmann represented Brazil in the 2014 WWATC in Japan, and currently attends Windermere Prep in Florida.

Sofia Seldemirova, 17, earned victories in this year’s Austrian International Junior, and repeated as champion at the Bulgarian Junior and Croatian Ladies Amateur.

Madeline Szeryk is a two-time first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection for Texas A&M University, where she is a junior. She was a second-team All-American as a freshman, on her way to SEC Freshman of the Year honors, after finishing as the runner-up in the SEC Championships. She was a quarterfinalist in the 2015 British Ladies Open Amateur.

Captain Beatriz Steeger has played in six WWATCs, but is making her first appearance as captain. Professionally, Steeger is an architect.

Ya Chun Chang, 16, made the cut in both LPGA Tour events she played in last year: the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship and LPGA Swinging Skirts Classic. Earlier this year, Chang shot a 64 in sectional qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open in Bradenton, Fla., but wound up as the first alternate with a 36-hole total of 139. In 2015, she won the Golf Week Invitational Junior, the IMG Junior World Florida Challenge and Jack Nicklaus Invitational.

Silvia Garces, 22, tied for ninth in the 2015 NCAA Championship, playing for Tulane University where she graduated from this spring. She is playing in her first WWATC.

Captain Gloriana Soto played golf at Texas Tech University, and turned professional in 2010 after graduating. She played three years on the Symetra Tour and was a contestant on Golf Channel’s ‘Big Break Atlantis.’

Karolina Vlckova, 23, was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection and made the NCAA Baton Rouge All-Region Team in 2016, playing for the University of Florida. She posted two runner-up finishes during her collegiate career: the Alamo Invitational and the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.

Torben Henriksen Nyehuus is serving as captain for his fifth consecutive WWATC. He caddied for current European Tour player Lucas Bjerregaard when he won the European Amateur.

Malene Kroelboell Hansen, 21, is playing in her first WWATC. She won the Danish International Ladies Amateur and Wilbroe Cup this year. In 2013, she won the Annika Invitational Europe.

Anika Veintemilla, 16, qualified for the 2016 Junior Open in Scotland and the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. She shared medalist honors in the 2016 Abierto del Condado, Enrique Santos in 2014 and 2015, and the Nacional Juvenil in 2013.

Meghan MacLaren, 22, was a two-time Conference-USA champion and Player of the Year performer, in 2015 and 2016 at Florida International. In 2013, she won the Sun Belt Conference individual championship before the school changed conferences. MacLaren won six additional collegiate events during her career. She also won the 2014 British Stroke Play and Irish Stroke Play championships.

Matilda Castren, 21, earned All-America honors in 2014, and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 2014 and 2016 at Florida State University. She tied for first in the NCAA Shoal Creek Regional in 2016, and holds the school record for career scoring average (72.69). She is No. 36 in the WAGR. Castren was born in the United States and moved to Finland when she was 4.

Mathilda Cappeliez, 18, is playing in her second WWATC, and advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship in August. Cappeliez also reached the semifinals of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur. In each instance, she lost to the eventual champion.

Kristin Oberiano, 22, is playing in her second consecutive WWATC. She earned All-Conference honors in golf all four years at Occidental College (Los Angeles), and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in history at Harvard University.

Lucia Polo, 21, is one of four captains playing in the event. This will be her first year as captain, but fourth WWATC.  She was named a Golfweek All-American in 2015, and a Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2016, playing for the University of Tennessee. Polo, a four-time Guatemalan Open champion and two-time Central American Open winner, was awarded the 2015-16 Arthur Ashe Junior Sports Scholar Award.

Tiffany Chan, 23, No. 15 in the WAGR, won back-to-back NJCAA individual national titles playing for Daytona (Fla.) State College before transferring to the University of Southern California, where she earned All-America honors as a junior last season. Chan is playing in her fifth WWATC.

Gudrun Bjorgvinsdottir, 22, became the fourth freshman to win the Mountain West Championship and the third champion from Fresno State University. She was the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year and a second-team All-Mountain West performer. She won the Icelandic Junior for seven consecutive years from 2006-12.

Diksha Dagar, 15, has notched victories in 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.

Maria Fassi, the 2015 South American Amateur runner-up, won the 2015 and 2016 Women’s Mexican Amateur Championships. The University of Arkansas sophomore also qualified for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open.

Ana Paula Valdes, a freshman at Clemson University, is the only returnee from Mexico’s 2014 WWATC team. She won the 2015 Women’s Porter Cup while playing on the winning Mexican team, and took individual medalist honors in the Junior Americas Cup in 2013 and 2014.

Captain Marcela Coghlan will serve in that role for the sixth time in 2016. She has been Mexico’s women’s captain at the WWATC in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2016. 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.

Maria Torres, 21, is playing in her fourth WWATC. She was the 2016 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year for the University of Florida, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Hye-Jin Choi, 16, won the 2016 Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship and reached the semifinals of the 2016 U.S. Girls’ Junior, where she fell to eventual runner-up Andrea Lee. Choi reached the Round of 16 in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur before falling to eventual champion Eun Jeong Seong. She was co-runner-up to Lydia Ko in the 2016 ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open and tied for fifth in the 2016 RACV Ladies Masters, both stops on the Ladies European Tour. Choi earned low-amateur honors in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open, where she tied for 38th, as well as in the LPGA Tour’s 2016 Lotte Championship, where she finished tied for 52nd. Choi was the low individual in the 2015 World Junior Girls’ Championship in Canada, leading Korea to an 18-stroke victory.

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

Katja Pogacar, 22, is representing her country in the WWATC for the fourth time. She is a two-time Big Ten Championship runner-up while playing for Ohio State University. She also won the 2014 Czech Women’s Amateur.

Kaleigh Telfer, 18, represented her province in cricket and is passionate about wildlife and wildlife photography.

Captain K.G. Nissen is serving as WWATC captain for the third time. A full-time physical therapist, he was the Swedish 800-meter champion in 1982 and ran against Great Britain Olympic champion Sebastian Coe.

Emma Henrikson, 23, was the 2016 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year at San Diego State University. She was also San Diego State’s student-athlete of the year.

Linnea Strom, 19, who earned first-team All-America honors at Arizona State University, won the mixed golf gold medal in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. She also won the 2016 Pacific-12 Conference championship, and in 2013 and 2014, she competed on Sweden’s gold-medal winning squads in the European Team Championships.

Sisters Kim, 21, and Morgane Metraux, 19, are also teammates at Florida State University. They are both playing in their second WWATC after making their first appearances in Japan two years ago. The younger Morgane shot 62 (10-under-par) in the 2016 Ladies European Championship in Sweden. Kim is an All-Atlantic Coast Conference choice. Both have studied piano.

Left-handed Katelyn Dambaugh, 21, is playing in the 2016 championship despite being committed more than a year ago to her friend’s wedding (on Sept. 17). Her friend, Collins Bradshaw, is also a golfer who played at the University of Georgia, and she agreed that playing for the USA was ‘a great opportunity.’ A two-time All-American for the University of South Carolina, Dambaugh was runner-up to Doris Chen in the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior and advanced to the Round of 16 in August’s U.S. Women’s Amateur. In high school, she played on nine state championship teams (six in golf and three in basketball).

Mariel Galdiano, 18, was a member of the 2016 USA Curtis Cup Team and won the 2015 Canadian Women’s Amateur. She was also the stroke-play medalist in last August’s U.S. Women’s Amateur before losing in 23 holes in the Round of 64.

Andrea Lee, 18, was also a member of the 2016 USA Curtis Cup Team and made the cut in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. She achieved black belt status in taekwondo, but no longer practices that discipline. In 2016, she finished runner-up in the U.S. Girls’ Junior and the Canadian Women’s Amateur, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

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