Defending champion James Johnson shot a two under par 70 today to command an early lead in the 29th United Insurance Barbados Open golf championships at The Country Club at Sandy Lane.
On a sunny day, and fending off charges from determined opponents, Johnson posted scores of 36 strokes on the front nine and 34 on the back to lead the men’s championship division by six strokes over the first 18 holes.
Barbados player and Sandy Lane’s director of golf, Elvis Medford, playing on his home turf, was second with a gross 76, one stroke ahead of 16 year-old Donald Leacock, Scott Stollmeyer and Ansari Muhajiri, all on 77.
Three other players – Adrian Sampson, Dave Rajkumar and Judd Cozier were also in contention on 78.Apart from Leacock, yesterday also saw glimpses of things to come from other young talents as 11-year-old Mavi Vergos, a student of the Codrington High school, and Spencer Smith, a 14-year-old student of The St. Michael School, both outclassed senior opponents to lead their divisions.
Playing in the men’s first flight, featuring 42 players with 10 to 21 handicaps, Smith (13 handicap) shot an impressive 82 to lead the field by two strokes. Chasing the leader was Livy Webster and Philip Weekes, both on a gross 84.
The highly talented Vergos (9 handicap) dictated play in the women’s championship division, posting a gross 83, one stroke ahead of Muffin Stollmeyer who was second on 84. Third was veteran Julia Stephenson with a gross 93.
Top Barbados junior, 16 year-old Donald Leacock also made his presence felt among the major contenders as he posted a gross 77, while his partner Elvis Medford shot 76 in the men’s championship division.Among the senior men, veteran Barbados players Ricky Skeete and Michael Haynes secured an early lead in the highly competitive catergory as both shot 76, one stroke ahead of Adrian Mayers (77) and two ahead of Clive Newman (78).
Experienced Barbados player Robert Piggott shot 79 in the company of cricket legend Desmond Haynes who registered 86.Former Barbados cricketer Stephen Farmer enjoyed a good day among the super seniors (over age 60), posting a gross 74 that gave him a one-stroke lead over Trinidadian Monty Chapman (75). Bill Weir, Cally Boyea and Harry Goodman were all on 80 and seeking an improved second round.
More than 100 players from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, St.Kitts/Nevis and the United States are contesting the three- day championships.(BB)