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Turkish Trio target 2020 Olympics
Sena Ersoy, Begum Yilmaz and Aylin Erçel represent a bright future for women's golf in Turkey

Three of Turkey’s most promising young golfers are competing in the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open this week.

Amateur golfers Sena Ersoy, Begum Yilmaz and Aylin Erçel will all make their debut in the Ladies European Tour event starting on Thursday at National Golf Club.

Following golf’s re-introduction to the Olympic programme from 2016, their appearance is exciting, particularly given Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Two of the golfers, Ersoy and Yilmaz, live in Istanbul and it would be a source of great pride for Turkey if they eventually qualified for The Olympics, if not in 2016, then in 2020.

High school student Ersoy, 17, is currently Turkey’s top ranked female amateur with a +1 handicap and said that it would be a dream to play in the Olympics.

“Maybe in 2020, it could be in Istanbul: a dream!” she said, with a smile.

She is eager to play in her first professional tournament and added: “I want to be a professional golfer; it’s my dream, also to be the first lady professional in Turkey.”

Sena Ersoy, 17, from Istanbul


Begum Yilmaz, 18, from Istanbul

Meanwhile Yilmaz, aged 18, who plays off a handicap of 1, was equally thrilled at having the opportunity to compete in the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, which could lead on to greater success in the long term.

The prospect of the Olympics in Turkey is exciting for all of the young golfers including Aylin Erçel, a product of National Golf Club’s impressive junior programme.

The 18-year-old from Belek, Antalya, has been attending coaching sessions at the club since the age of seven and now plays off a handicap of 2.  

Junior golf is taken seriously at The National, which boasts a comprehensive training program, with 74 children currently in the scheme.

The children, all selected from local towns, an Antalya orphanage, and children of staff at the golf club, undergo a strict training program, other than golf they are given lifestyle education to broaden their future career and social standing.


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