Close to 100 players and officials from the region will converge on Barbados in the first week of July for the 2016 Caribbean Junior Golf Championships.
The championships are being played at the Barbados Golf Club (BCG), from July 4 to 8, and will showcase the Caribbean’s best young golfers between the ages of 11 and 17.
President of the Barbados Golf Association Trevor Tasker, speaking on behalf of the host country, told a media conference at the BGC Thursday that Barbados last hosted the regional juniors in 2011 and were looking forward to do so again in spite of a challenging cost of $100 000 to make the tournament a success.
“To date we have 94 players and officials coming from eight countries which include the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos and the US Virgin Islands. In addition to the players and officials, there is a keen interest among parents and guardians who are excited to come to Barbados,” said Tasker.
The annual championships, the BGA president said, were an important fixture on the calendar of the Caribbean Golf Association and were also critical to the development of the sport across the region while providing a good stage to showcase young talent.
Barbados coach Denis Foster disclosed that the island will be fielding a 13-member team, captained by Joshua Jones, and competition will be in three divisions among boys and girls.
Girls and boys from nine territories, including hosts Barbados, will play in 11-13, 14-15 and 16-17 age groups and the two best individual scores will count towards the total team score over three days of competition.
According to Foster, the forthcoming tournament marks the first time in recent years that Barbados will be represented in all categories and he expected a good showing from the junior national players.
“I am very pleased to say that for the first time in many years, Barbados will be represented in every age-group in the Caribbean Championships and that in itself is going to put us on a platform where, I’m pretty sure, that we will be in line not only for individual medals but hopefully for a team placing among the top three,” said Foster.
Operations manager of the Barbados Golf Club, Dave Barnard, said the course was in good shape and would certainly challenge the regional players over an exciting three days of golf.
Tasker further disclosed that several agencies and supporters of golf had come on board to assist in making the championships a success and they included the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Sol, the National Sports Council, the R&A (the governing body for golf based in Scotland), the Barbados Golf Club and The Barbados Defence Force.
He added volunteers and other players were also making contributions and specially praised the management at Royal Westmoreland, the BGC, Sandy Lane and Apes Hill clubs for allowing the BGA to stage fundraisers at these courses for the benefit of junior golf.
Meanwhile, left-hander Joshua Jones, who will compete in the 16-17 age group, has been named captain of the national junior team.
The 13-member team also includes newcomers Quinton Heljenek and Dominic Jordan in the boys’ 11-13 division and Jada Jones and Leianna Bynoe in the girls’ 16-17 division.
Jones said leading the team would be a new experience for him but he is hoping the Barbados’ players perform well at home.
“It is going to be a tough tournament but hopefully we can win. We are playing at home so most of the players know the holes and they have played them many times. We have been preparing … so hopefully we do well,” Jones said.
The Barbados Team for the 2016 Caribbean Junior Golf Championships:
Girls 11-13: Emily Odwin, Eryn Blakeley; 14-15 – Alyssa Inniss-Gittens; 16-17: – Jada Jones and Leiann Bynoe.
Boys 11-13: Quinton Heljenek, Dominic Jordan; 14-15 – Iz Hustler, Xzavier Wiggins, Oaziah Layne; 16-17 – Joshua Jones (captain), Chris Cobley, Christian Mason. Coach – Denis Foster; Manager – Richard Proverbs.