Perennial golf champion James Johnson came, saw, but failed to conquer the Massy United Insurance Barbados Open this time around.
Instead, national player Julian Jordan played excellent golf to upstage the 12-time champion Johnson after a keen tussle at the Royal Westmoreland Club yesterday. On the female side of the equation, Sally Schofield took the women’s title.
Holding a narrow two-stroke lead after the first 18 holes on Saturday, Jordan staved off the defending champion and rival Barbados player Carlsen Leacock on a pressure-filled final day to win the Open title for the second time.
Jordan showed great consistency over the two days, posting an even par 72 again Sunday, to finish with a gross 144, three strokes better than Johnson who shot 73 for an 18-hole gross of 147. Third was reigning Antigua champion Omarry James, who posted 73 after his first day 76 for a gross 149, while fourth was Leacock with a two-day gross 151.
“The intermittent showers didn’t really bother me . . . my strategy was to hit the fairways and greens and avoid the rough. James is a very good player so I had to play well and I came through,” said Jordan.
Jordan, who first won the Barbados Open back in 1988 with a two-stroke victory over Trevor Levine of St Kitts, exhibited well-measured shot-making and good touch around the greens while separating himself from the championship contenders.
He registered five birdies, three of them on the back nine, and had it all sealed by the 16th hole when he held a three-stroke lead over the field. Thereafter it proved to be a cruise to victory for the new champion.
The male and female championship divisions (featuring players with 0 to 9 handicaps) were played over two days at Royal Westmoreland, after the scheduled first day Friday was rained out and the tournament was reduced to a 36-hole contest.
Among the women, veteran Sally Schofield played steadily to hold off her challengers after posting a 3-over-par 75 on the first day.
The British-born Schofield, who previously represented Barbados in regional competition, posted 79 yesterday for a 36-hole gross 154, which was five strokes better than young Trinidadian Ysabelle Lawrence and former Jamaica player Leiza Munn-Blakeley. Lawrence shot 79 on Sunday and Munn-Blakeley, 78, for both to finish second on a two-day gross 159.
Thirteen-year-old Mavi Vergos, who was second in the tournament last year, shot 83 on Sunday and posted a two-day gross 161 for fourth position.
In other divisions, which were also completed on the final day at Royal Westmoreland, Malcolm Hunte emerged winner of the men’s first flight with a gross 169, while early leader Ravi Deonarine of Trinidad was second, with 171.
Among the Seniors (50 years and over), Charles Cox registered 76 yesterday to take that title with a two-day gross 161 while Terry Nanton was second on 165.
Barbadian Bill Weir fended off a challenge from Trinidadian Monty Chapman to successfully defend his Super Seniors (60 years) title, winning by one stroke with a gross 155.
Among the 120 players who took part in the tournament were Minister of Health John Boyce and former West Indies cricket coach, Otis Gibson.
After play on the fairways and greens – players, officials, sponsors and other supporters of golf came together for a major awards ceremony in the club-house at Royal Westmoreland.