PUR Women Team ready for 2012 WATC
Local teams looking forward to World Championships in Turkey
by Alberto C. Medina - PRGA Staff Writer
(Tuesday, September 25th, 2012) - The best amateur golfers in the world will converge in Antalya, Turkey, this week for the start of the 2012 World Amateur Team Championships (WATC), the largest and most prestigious event held by the International Golf Federation.
A record 72 male and 56 female squads from all around the globe will face off for the chance to call their nation the best in the world. Puerto Rico, which hosted the event in 2004 and has been posting steadily improved results in the years since, will once again send strong, talented teams to represent the Island and try to bring home the Eisenhower (men) and Espirito Santo (women) trophies.
Up first will be the ladies competition, which starts up on Thursday the 27th. Puerto Rico will repeat its 2010 WATC team consisting of Kyle Roig, María Torres and Patricia García. That squad achieved the Island’s highest ever finish (20th) two years ago in Buenos Aires, and they’ll be looking to improve and set a new record this time around.
“I think we have a really strong team,” said García. “We’ve learned a lot since two years ago and I think we have some more experience and a lot of good golf in us.”
The Puerto Rican ladies are a young but very talented squad. García is a standout at Texas A&M, while Roig plays at perennial powerhouse UCLA. Torres, a high school senior, will join them on the NCAA circuit next year when she begins attending the University of Florida, and this year alone has compiled an impressive list of tournaments and achievements including top individual honors at the junior and adult Caribbean Amateur Championships, playing in the U.S. Girls’ Amateur Championship, a win at the AJGA’s TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Junior event and a top-20 finish at the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy in Scotland.
García knows it will take an outstanding effort from all three of them to place well this weekend. “The level (of competition) is so high right now. I’ve been mentally preparing for the fact that we’re going to be facing the best of the best in Turkey,” said García, who noted that she’s been practicing for over four hours daily.
A week after the ladies it will be time for the men to tee it up, and the Puerto Rican team is ready to go. The squad features Erick Morales and Robert Calvesbert, both of whom have previous WATC experience, and one ‘rookie’ who couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity.
“Honestly, I can’t even describe how proud I feel,” said Jerónimo Esteve, the third member of the Puerto Rican team. “I never thought that this would happen; it’s above and beyond anything I could have dreamed of and, to be able to compete against the best players in the world... I can’t even describe it.”
Esteve, who actually played professionally after college nearly a decade ago, has recently found a successful second golf career as an amateur. Earlier this year, he joined Morales and Calvesbert on the Hoerman Cup team that placed third at the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships and delivered one of the top performances by a Puerto Rican player.
“That gave me a lot of confidence,” said Esteve about his play in St. Kitts. Like García, Esteve also said that he has been preparing almost non-stop since he was named to the team, and he believes that the Puerto Rican men will put in a strong performance in Turkey.
“Obviously, Robi is a great player, and so is Erick. We have a great camaraderie between us, we get along well, and both of them are incredibly talented,” said Esteve of Calvesbert and Morales, who have, for years now, been mainstays on various Puerto Rican national teams.
The 2012 World Amateur Team Championships will use a 72-hole stroke play format, with the best two individual scores from each team counting toward that country’s aggregate score for the day. Follow all the action in Turkey through our updates at www.prga.org.