James Johnson will be the man to beat this weekend when the 8th RBC Royal Bank Classic golf tournament tees off at the Barbados Golf Club on Saturday.
More than 100 players have registered for the prestigious two-day Classic, which is a major annual tournament on the calendar of the Barbados Golf Association.
Johnson, the island’s most dominant player over the past 10 years, has won the Classic on four occasions and will be seeking to add a fifth title to his growing list of victories in local competition.
“My form is good and I am a lot fitter this year, I am definitely looking to add another win to the cabinet,” said Johnson. The Barbados national captain added that there were a number of good players he expected to be among his challengers but he was intent on focusing on his own game and not his competitors.
Among the main rivals for the defending champion are expected to be Canada-based Stephen Layne, the 2010 winner who flew into the country on Wednesday, Julian Jordan, Judd Cozier and Scott Stollmeyer.
Among the women, 2010 Champion Lyn deCambra-Mcleod will be seeking to recapture the title she surrendered last year to veteran Helen Foster and will start among the favourites to win the Classic.
Eleven year-old Mavi Vergos and experienced Julia Stephenson are also expected among the challengers.
The Classic normally attracts several visiting players from North America and England, and the island’s top players will have their work cut out on a course that will be in good shape.
“We have done a lot work in recent weeks and the course will be in excellent shape. The fairways will be nice and greens will play a little quicker,” said Tyrone Hinkson, the BGC’s Superintendent of Greens.
The RBC Classic is a major event on the BGA’s calendar and corporate communications manager Joseph Charles said his company had supported the event from its inception and were proud to be associated with one of the island’s premier golf tournaments.
He said RBC also had a proud tradition of supporting regional and international golf.
Funds raised from hosting the annual Classic will go towards assisting the development of junior golf in Barbados and the RBC will again this year present a High Performance Award to a young golfer who has shown the best skills and character throughout the season.
This award was previously won by junior national players Serena Smith†and Donald Leacock. (BB)