Team USA named for The 2021 Spirit International Amateur
L-R: James Piot, Rachel Heck, Sam Bennett, Rose Zhang
L-R: James Piot, Rachel Heck, Sam Bennett, Rose Zhang

Four of the country’s top collegiate players have been named to Team USA for The 2021 Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship (The Spirit). The Spirit, a biennial event staged Nov. 4-6 at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Texas, is a premier amateur competition featuring the world’s best amateur golfers – men and women – representing their respective countries in team and individual play.

Representing Team USA is Rachel Heck (Stanford, Memphis, Tenn.), Rose Zhang (Stanford, Irvine, Calif.), Sam Bennett (Texas A&M, Madisonville, Texas) and James Piot (Michigan State, Canton, Mich.). More information on Team USA is below.

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. Gold, Silver and Bronze commemorative medals are awarded to the top three in each competition.

Team USA is looking for its sixth win in the overall competition. Its last win came in 2015. The 2017 event was cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey.

See the announcement of the U.S. Team below

Stacy Lewis, a 13-time LPGA Champion and accomplished international competitor, will return as captain of Team USA for The 2021 Spirit. A five-time member of the United States Solheim Cup team as player, she recently served as an assistant captain for the 2021 event. Lewis played on the victorious 2008 Curtis Cup team and was the first player to win all five matches (5-0) in Curtis Cup history. She also represented the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Alli Jarrett, who played collegiate golf at South Carolina and former USGA Regional Director, is the assistant captain for Team USA.

“The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship is such a special event. I’m thrilled to return to Whispering Pines and to work with these talented young players,’ Lewis said. “We have some of the best amateur players in the world on Team USA, and I know they will represent our country well. I look forward to another incredible week of competition.”

A closer look at Team USA:

Rachel Heck
Memphis, Tenn. • Stanford University, Sophomore • St. Agnes Academy
Ranked No. 2 in World Amateur Golf Rankings…2021 NCAA Individual Champion and PING/WGCA Player of the Year… Won Pac-12 Conference Championship, NCAA Regional and NCAA Championship consecutively as a freshman…WGCA and Golfweek First-Team All-America selection…Placed third at 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur…Participated in 2021 U.S. Women’s Open and 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur… Represented Team USA at 2021 Curtis Cup and 2019 Junior Solheim Cup.

Rose Zhang
Irvine, Calif. • Stanford University, Freshman • Pacific High School
Ranked No. 1 in World Amateur Golf Rankings…Won 2021 U.S. Girls Junior Championship and 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur…Earned entry into the 2020 and 2021 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur…Has won eight junior or amateur national events since 2019 … Represented the United States in the 2017 and 2019 Junior Solheim Cups, 2018 Junior Ryder Cup and the 2021 Curtis Cup.

Sam Bennett
Madisonville, Texas • Texas A&M, Senior • Madisonville High School
Ranked No. 9 in World Amateur Golf Rankings…Named First-Team All-American by PING in 2021…Selected First-Team All-SEC in 2020 and 2021…Ben Hogan Award semi-finalist…Chosen to represent the United States in the 2021 Arnold Palmer Cup…Won three times during the 2020-21 collegiate season…Placed ninth at the 2020 U.S. Amateur Championship.

James Piot
Canton, Michigan • Michigan State University, Fifth Year • Detroit Catholic Central
Won 2021 U.S. Amateur Championship… Ranked No. 45 in World Amateur Golf Rankings…Selected PING All-America honorable mention in 2021… Selected First-team All-Big Ten in 2021 and earned an individual bid to the NCAA Championships…Has won six times in collegiate or amateur events since 2019.

Live coverage on the GOLF Channel
The Spirit Golf Association has partnered with GOLF Channel to produce the live stream of the Championship. The livestream will be available during competition on GolfChannel.com, the NBC Sports app and on TheSpiritGolf.com. GOLF Channel will present the highlight show in primetime, from 7-9 pm ET on Dec. 9, followed by an encore presentation on Dec. 11 from 4-6 pm ET. The highlight show will be the first television presentation of The Spirit in its 20-year history.

About Whispering Pines
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 played on the updated layout.

The Will Erwin Headache Research Foundation
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.

The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship presented by The Will Erwin Headache Research Foundation kicks off with an opening ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 2. Practice rounds are Wednesday, Nov. 3 before three days of competition begin on Thursday, Nov. 4.

ABOUT THE The Spirit International Amateur

The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship is world class golf event played every other year. It features the world’s best amateur men and amateur women golfers as they represent their respective country in team and individual competitions. The 96 participants enjoy an Olympic-like experience from the Opening/Closing Ceremonies, international village and competing for gold medals.

The World Health & Golf Association and Texas Golf Association invite 24 countries from six continents to participate. Established in 2001, The Spirit is a biennial event that alternates tournament years with the World Amateur Team Championships.

Part of the uniqueness of the Spirit International are the five simultaneous competitions: Combined International Championship, Men’s Team Championship, Women’s Team Championship, Men’s Individual and Women’s Individual.

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