by Bernard Babb
Christopher Richards, a 48 year-old player from Trinidad and Tobago, emerged winner of the professional golf tournament of the 2013 United Insurance Barbados Open at Apes Hill on Sunday.
Richards defeated Barbadian Roger Beale Jnr in an exciting play-off, over three holes, after both had completed their four rounds tied on a gross 289.
The Trinidadian made up an amazing six-shots deficit on the final day and sent the duel with Beale into a play-off as he sank a birdie on the last hole of regular play and posted a two-under-par 70.
Beale, a former Canadian tour pro who slammed his rivals over the first three days with scores of 72, 71, and 70, experienced his worst day on Sunday when he returned a 4-over-par 76.
The duel remained tight over the first two play-off holes , as both players made par, but Richards held on at crunch-time on the third hole. He sank a 12-foot birdie while Beale just missed his six-foot birdie putt and was forced into second place.
“It was tough but I’m always prepared for a play-off. I practise that way,” said Richards, whose last day score was his best over the 72 holes.
Third was England-born Alex Sandeman (gross 293) and fourth, Sean Edey of Barbados (307).
Edey, along with amateurs Sean Byer, Derek Hamilton and Ravi Deonarine, was the winner of a preceding pro-am tournament as the team posted a nett-score of 210.
A professional tournament was included in the Barbados Open this year for the first time to mark a special 30th anniversary of the annual championship.
Among other professionals taking part in the pro-tournament were Mitchum Jasper (Trinidad), Brian McMillan (Tobago), Fitzroy Collins (Tobago), Franklyn Stephenson (Bdos), Jesse Jattan (TT), Mike Marshall (Bdos) and Andrew Linch (England).