Local and regional golfers are fine-tuning their drives and putts, hoping to produce their best form for the biggest staging of the annual United Insurance Barbados Open championships.
With less than a week to go before the 30th edition of the United Insurance Barbados Open, players are getting into top shape and seeking to enjoy some new elements that have been added to make the event truly special.
For the first time, the championships will tee-off with a Pro-Am competition at Apes Hill on Thursday September 5 while professionals will continue to tussle in their own tournament, over three days, also at Apes Hill.
President of the Barbados Golf Association, Hadley Byer, said there was eager anticipation building among amateur golfers from Barbados, other Caribbean territories, England , Canada and the United States as they will get the opportunity to play each day on a different course.
“This is an exciting feature of the United Open this year. After the pro-am at Apes Hill, amateur players will move to the Barbados Golf Club on Friday, September 6, and then to The Country Club at Sandy Lane on the Saturday (September 7) and Royal Westmoreland on the final day,” said Byer.
Byer noted that the Open Championships, organised annually by the BGA, were again well supported with another strong contingent already booked from Trinidad and Tobago, and other players coming from such territories as St. Maarten, St. Kitts , Martinique and the USVI.
“Out of Trinidad we have some good amateur players, such as Adrian Sampson and Wayne Baptiste , and we also have the best players from St. Kitts – in Raymond Percival and Trevor Levine. There is also a good line-up of mainly Caribbean professionals and that should be very competitive, ” added Byer.
Among the professional players registered for the Pro-Am tournament, as well as the 54-hole pro-competition, are Mike Marshall (Barbados), Sean Edey (Bdos) Ricky Campbell (Trinidad), Franklyn Stephenson (Bdos) , Jessie Jattan (Trinidad), Chris Macmillan (Trinidad), Adrian Norford (St. Kitts). Chris Richards (Trinidad), Andrew Linch (Bdos), Alex Sandeman (England) and Fitzroy Collins (Tobago).
Collectively, all divisions of the United Barbados Open championships will present players with the opportunity to play competitively at a relatively high level.
Barbadian players, such as defending champion James Johnson , and fellow national players Julian Jordan, Donald Leacock and Marcus Clarke, will be seeking to stamp their authority on home-turf while the visiting contenders will be seeking to upstage the locals.
Seventeen year-old Leacock, the Barbados junior captain who graduated to the senior national team this year, is particularly hoping to show his mettle among more seasoned campaigners, having managed to lower his handicap to 1 in recent months.
Said the BGA President: “These championships will also provide a fairly good gauge of the quality of golf we play in Barbados. Four different courses will challenge the ball-striking ability of players and also their ability to adapt to different conditions, especially the varying pace of greens.” (BB)