AWESOME ANNIKA: Rathbone Set for Asia Pacific Challenge

Bardon Ridge prodigy Annika Rathbone will make her debut for Australia as part of a six player team to contest the 2024 Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Golf Championship in Thailand next month.

Rathbone, 20, earned her place for the first time by going undefeated at the Australian Interstate Teams Matches at St. Michael’s Golf Club in May, 2023 as NSW triumphed.

She has previously won three consecutive pennant titles with The Australian Golf Club and was also prominent at the Australian Amateur in 2023.

“I was over the moon when I received the email,” said Rathbone.

“I had tears of joy. It’s such an honour and it’s been a childhood dream of mine to represent Australia at the upcoming Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific.”

The tournament, which carries major championship invitations for the winner, is scheduled for 1-4 February at Siam Country Club in Pattaya.

From the Australian Golf Club in Kensington, Rathbone joins five players who competed last year in the same event; Sarah Hammett and Justice Bosio (Qld), Caitlin Peirce (SA), Abbie Teasdale (WA), and Jazy Roberts (VIC) – in this year’s squad.

The WAAP is an important championship in itself, but its rewards are off the charts. This year’s winner will receive an invitation to three women’s professional majors: the AIG Women’s Open at the Home of Golf, St Andrews in Scotland, The Amundi Evian Championship in France, and the Chevron Championship at Woodlands in Texas. 

In addition, they will also be invited to the Hana Financial Group Championship in Asia, the ISPS HANDA Australian Open, the 121st Women’s Amateur Championship in the United Kingdom and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

No Australian has won the WAAP since its inception in 2018, with Kelsey Bennett’s runner-up finish in 2021 being the best result.

Adelaide’s Peirce was the best Australian in 2023 in a tie for 13th place, and she will lead the way in Thailand again.

Golf Australia’s Female Pathway Manager, Stacey Peters, was delighted with the selections.

“It’s a good, strong team with that mix of youth and experience,” Peters said.

“Five of these girls know what this is all about and know how to handle the emotions of playing in an event with such a big prize at the end of it.

“Annika as the new member of the team has been really impressive and played her way into the mix.

“The stakes are high and we’re up for it.”

WAAP player profiles:

Age 20. Home club: The Australian
From Bardon Ridge in southwestern Sydney, Rathbone was instrumental helping NSW to claim victory at the Golf Australia Interstate Matches in Sydney last year, going undefeated for the week. Rathbone also helped her home club, The Australian, to three straight Women’s Metropolitan Major Pennant titles. Away from the course, she is a qualified heavy industry electrician at NSW State Rail.

Age: 21. Home club: Royal Adelaide
A past Karrie Webb Scholarship holder and SA and Queensland Amateur champion, Peirce is a prolific winner of state amateur titles. She is an agricultural science student who was tied-seventh at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open and low amateur.

Age: 19. Home club: Caboolture.
Runner-up at the Australian Amateur in 2022 and 2023, Bosio played at the Augusta National Women’s tournament in 2023, narrowly missing the cut. She is a current Karrie Webb Scholarship holder.

Age: 21. Home club: Royal Fremantle
Won the English Women’s Amateur and the Riversdale Cup in 2022 and competed for Australia in this event last year as well as winning the English Strokeplay Championship. She is the reigning WA Amateur champion.

Age: 18. Home club: Belvoir Park
From the central Victorian city of Bendigo, Roberts bobbed up with an outstanding tied-14th finish at the 2023 ISPS HANDA Australian Open in Sydney.  A previous winner of the Murray River Masters, she won the women’s section of the Sandbelt Invitational in Melbourne late last year.

Age: 17. Home club: Emerald Lakes
Multiple junior state amateur winner who has juggled schooling with her golf over recent years. Almost won a Ladies European Tour event at Bonville as a 15-year-old and threatened at the Women’s NSW Open last year, too. She went top-20 at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open in 2023.

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