USGA NEWS
Former USGA executive director to lead squad of four national champions September 27, 2011 By Spirit International

Houston, Texas – Former USGA Executive Director David Fay, who served the Association for more than 30 years, will serve as the USA captain for the 2011 Spirit International.

Fay also knows the value a national champion golfer adds to a team. So it comes as no surprise that all four participants of the 2011 Spirit International USA Team are national champions and elite competitors. 

Fay and USA assistant captain, Alli Jarrett, announced the 2011 Spirit International USA Team.  Austin Ernst, a sophomore at Louisiana State University, Emily Tubert, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas, Kelly Kraft, a senior at Southern Methodist University and Nathan Smith of Pittsburgh, Pa. will represent the United States at The 2011 Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship, Nov. 2-5, at Whispering Pines Golf Club. 

“The 2010-2011 season has been an amazing time for amateur golf,” said Fay. “With several amateurs winning professional events, the biggest challenge in the selection process was the number of worthy candidates. Alli and I are confident this group of competitors will proudly and deftly defend the Gold Medal at The 2011 Spirit International.”

The 2011 Spirit International features 80 participants from 20 countries representing six continents. Country teams are comprised of national amateur champions and top-ranked players. The format of play for the competition is four-ball stroke play. The men’s and women’s four-ball score is combined for the International Team competition. There is also a separate men’s and women’s team competition.

The host course for The Spirit International is Whispering Pines Golf Club, located 80 miles north of Houston, in Trinity, Texas.

The USA Team, captained by former Spirit player and 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer, won The 2009 Spirit International Gold Medal.  The 2009 USA Team members were 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion and 2010 USA Curtis Cup member Alexis Thompson, 2010 USA Curtis Cup member Jennifer Johnson, 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Jordan Spieth and 2009 U.S. Amateur runner-up Ben Martin.

“You take a look at that 2009 team and you certainly see the next generation of stars on the professional tours,” said Fay.

Past Spirit Alumni include Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer, Alexis Thompson, Yani Tseng, Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel, Jason Day, Francesco and Edoardo Molinari and Brandt Snedeker.

Austin Ernst, 19 – 2010 NCAA Division I Women’s Champion. 2011 First Team All-American and two-time AJGA Rolex Junior All-American…She is currently sophomore at Louisiana State University…Was a semifinalist at 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship…Her father is a PGA club professional…She resides in Seneca, S.C.

Emily Tubert, 19 – 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Champion. 2011 All-American and All-SEC Conference honors…2011 SEC Conference Freshman of the year…2011 NCGA All-Scholar Team…Three time AJGA Rolex junior All-American…Emily is currently sophomore at the University of Arkansas…She resides in Burbank, Calif.

Kelly Kraft, 22 – 2011 U.S. Amateur Champion. 2011 Trans-Mississippi Champion…2011 and 2009 Texas Amateur Champion…Three time First Team All-Conference USA honors…Kelly represented the USA at the 2011 Walker Cup Match…He is currently completing his degree at Southern Methodist University and resides in Dallas, Texas.

Nathan Smith, 33 – 2003, 2009 and 2010 U.S. Mid–Amateur Champion. Recently lost in semi-finals of U.S. Mid–Am in attempt to become first player to win four U.S. Mid-Am titles…2011 Sunnehanna Amateur Champion…Three-time Pennsylvania State Amateur Champion. Two-time USA Walker Cup Team member (2009, 2011)…Nathan is employed as an investment banker. He resides in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Spirit Golf Association, a 501© (3) charitable organization, is responsible for the Whispering Pines membership program and tournament management of The Spirit International. The Texas Golf Association is the governing association for The Spirit International competition.

For more information on The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship, please contact Tournament Director Eric Fredricksen at 281-298-2664 or efredricksen@spiritgolf.org. The official website for The Spirit International is www.thespiritgolf.com