Trinidadian Sachin Kumar and Puerto Rico’s Valeria Pacheo emerged champions of the 16-17 age group when the 2016 Caribbean Junior Golf Championships concluded at the Barbados Golf Club today.
On a rain affected final day, the talented 17 year-old Trinidadian posted 74, his highest score of the tournament, but that was good enough to beat his nearest rival by 17 strokes. He completed the 54 holes of competition with a one-under-par gross 215.
“It was rainy and play was slow most of the day…my putting was a little off but I’m happy with my score and happy to win the tournament,” said Kumar.
Alejandro Toro of Puerto Rico squeezed into the silver medal position, also posting a 74 over the final 18 holes, as he finished with a gross 232 and shared the slot with top Dominican Republic players Lucas Hernandez (232) and Enrique Valverde (232), who both shot 77.
Sixteen year-old Pacheo, who like Kumar is based at the Club Med Academy in Florida, also slammed her female rivals as she finished with a four-over-par 76 and a 36-hole gross 225. She shrugged off a first-day challenge from Jamaican Tiana Cruz, when they both shot 75, and finished 10 strokes clear today.
Not surprisingly, the girls’ 13 and under division turned out to be the most competitive on the final day as Barbadian Emily Odwin, Brooke Rivers of Turks & Caicos and Bahamian Sophie Anand were all locked on 169 after the first two days.
They were all positioned to make a run for the title but in the end, Odwin and Rivers tied for the gold medal as both shot 85 over the last 18 holes in a contest that swung back and forth.
Odwin, who had rebounded as a contender with a 79 on Day 2, at one stage was trailing Rivers by a stroke but refused to go away as the title was decided over the last three holes and both tied with scores of 254. Anand was third on 258.
“I’m kind of happy with my performance… the rain did not really affect my game as it allowed me to attack the greens. They were wet and that allowed the ball to stop once you hit the greens. It was a good contest with Brooke and Sophie,” said 12-year-old Odwin.
The boys’ 15 and under division was controlled by Puerto Rican Melvin Morales over the three days and he took the gold medal while posting a final day 74 and a gross 221. He was chased by Ho Kin-Kang of the Dominican Republic (232) and Jamaican Sebert Walker (233), while Barbadian Iz Hustler was fourth with 236.
Jamaican Hannah Foster, who shot 78, also led from start to finish in the girls’ 15 and under division and predictably won the title with 235, five strokes clear of Haylie Turnquest of the Bahamas (gross 240).
The Cayman Islands pair of Aaron Jarvis and Justin Hastings dominated the boys’ 13 and under category where Hastings surprisingly had to settle for the silver medal after impressive scores of 71 and 75 on the first two days. He stumbled on Day 3, posting 83, as his compatriot shot 74 and ran away with the title with a gross 224.
More than 80 players from nine territories – including Trinidad and Tobago, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Bahamas, USVI, Turks & Caicos, and hosts Barbados – contested the 29th edition of the Caribbean Junior Championships which were staged under the auspices of the Caribbean Golf Association.
Puerto Rico took the overall Hank James Team Trophy for the seventh time, as they finished the championships on 140 points, while Jamaica and the Dominican Republic were joint second on 119 points.