The 10th Spirit International, which features top amateur players from around the world, is less than 100 days away from the first day of competition
HOUSTON, Texas – The Spirit Golf Association (SGA) is set to host The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship presented by The Will Erwin Headache Research Foundation (The Spirit) from Nov. 4-6 along the shores of Lake Livingston at Whispering Pines Golf Club. The biennial event, staged for the 10th time in 2021, is a premier amateur competition featuring the world’s best men and women amateur golfers representing their respective countries in team and individual play.
The Will Erwin Headache Research Foundation joins as the title sponsor of The 2021 Spirit as well as the beneficiary of SGA’s ongoing fundraising campaign featuring golf events nationwide.
“The Spirit International Golf Championship is the signature event of the Spirit Golf Association and one of the top destinations for amateur players around the world,” said Charlie Epps, President of the Spirit Golf Association. “We are thrilled to host the 2021 event for these young men and women, raise money for the Will Erwin Headache Research Foundation and stage our first-ever individual stroke play competition.”
The Spirit features 80 competitors from 20 countries. It is a 54-hole competition with five concurrent competition categories: international team, men’s team and women’s team, and men’s and women’s individual stroke play competitions. Until this year, the individual competition was a tally of each players total holes under par. Beginning with the 2021 event, the individual competition will be traditional stoke play. Gold, Silver and Bronze commemorative medals are awarded to the top three golfers in each competition.
The Spirit has been a proving ground for international players over the years with many going on to find success on professional tours. Notable alumni of The Spirit include Jordan Spieth, Lorena Ochoa, Jason Day, Lexi Thompson, Francesco Molinari, Paula Creamer and many others. There are 23 women and 16 men participating in the 2021 Olympic games, raising the total to 56 golfers in all Olympic games.
France will return to The Spirit this year to defend its combined team championship from 2019. The United States team of Cole Hammer and Andy Ogletree claimed the 2019 men’s team event, while the Republic of South Korea won the women’s team title. In individual play, Australian Jack Trent earned the victory with a total of 20 birdies and one eagle. The women’s individual champion was Jeonghyun Lee of the Republic of Korea with 17 birdies.
The Spirit’s host course, Whispering Pines Golf Club, is widely recognized as the best golf course in the state of Texas. The beautiful, 18-hole Championship Golf Course is carved through piney woods, creeks, lakes and natural dunes. It was originally designed in 1998 by Texas golf course architect Chet Williams with the Nicklaus Design Group. In December 2019, Williams returned for the course’s construction during the end-of-season closure. The 2021 Spirit will be the first one played on the updated layout.
The Will Erwin Headache Research Foundation, founded in 2014, raises funds to support research aimed at understanding the causes and finding a cure for debilitating headaches, including migraines and cluster headaches. The Foundation was created to honor the memory of Will Erwin, whose story as well as additional information about the Foundation, may be found at www.cureheadaches.org.
Additional sponsors whose contributions support The Spirit include Alpha Metallurgical Resources, Chevron, Insperity, John Deere/Brookside Equipment Sales, Inc., Taylormade, EZGO and Munich Re Tradding LLC.
Competition begins at The Spirit on Thursday, November 4th. Live scoring, live streaming and television information will be announced closer to the event.
This biennial event, staged for the 10th time in 2021, is a premier amateur competition featuring the world’s best men and women amateur golfers representing their respective countries in team and individual play. Eighty competitors from 20 countries compete for gold medals in the 54-hole four-ball stroke play competition. Each country is represented by two women and two men amateur golfers. Previous Spirit International competitors who now are professionals on the LPGA and PGA TOUR include Lorena Ochoa, Brooke Henderson, Jordan Spieth, Francesco Molinari, Lexi Thompson, Brandt Snedeker, Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Bronte Law, Martin Kaymer, Maria Fassi, and Viktor Hovland. Spirit alumni have gone on to win more than 650 professional titles, 25 major championships and 56 Olympic appearances, including 16 PGA Tour winners, 26 European Tour winners, 24 LPGA winners and 21 Ladies European Tour winners. The Spirit Golf Association is dedicated to the promotion of amateur golf for the benefit of health-related causes. It organizes and oversees the event along with the Texas Golf Association.
About the Spirit Golf Association:
The Spirit Golf Association, 501(c)(3), serves as the host for The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship. Contributors to the Spirit Golf Association receive playing privileges at Whispering Pines Golf Club. In addition, SGA also hosts the Spirit Charity Challenge featuring Spirit alumni and Spirit Hall of Fame Game, which features local sports Hall of Famers and celebrities. Charlie Epps, PGA, serves as president and has been associated with the SGA since it was created in 1999. Mark Steinbauer, PGA, and Jeff Strong, PGA are vice-presidents.
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