In August, he could not hold on to his Barbados Open title but veteran Barbados player Carlsen Leacock is celebrating as the new champion of the annual RBC Classic, the island’s second biggest golf tournament.
Leacock, 58, followed up his even-par 72 on the first day with a fighting 81 yesterday at the Barbados Golf Club to shake off his rivals and grab the prestigious Classic title. The champion registered a two-day gross 153 while second was former Jamaica player Mark Blakeley (154) and third, Stephen Layne (156).
“I’m happy about the win. When I started the tournament I wanted the gold medal and I got the job done. It was really a struggle for all the players but I managed to hold it together on the back nine and got home,” said Leacock.
On another sunny day, Leacock stumbled on two occasions but clawed his way back in the face of testing play from Blakeley, Layne and 15-year-old Iz Hustler. Layne led the group by two strokes after the first nine holes but dropped those two strokes at a critical time on the 15th hole, collecting a double bogey, when Leacock charged ahead with birdies at No.15 and No.16.
The usually aggressive and shot-making Leacock then cruised his way home with pars on No.17 and No.18.
Fifteen year-old Barbados junior player, Oaziah Layne continued his improvement over the past year as he won the men’s first flight division, (featuring players with 7-14 handicaps) with a two-day gross 157, which was six strokes ahead of Malcolm Hunte (163).
Layne completed the win with a birdie on the 18th hole as he posted 81 yesterday to add to his first day 76 and was also followed by former Barbados badminton champion, Argyle Maynard, who was third with a gross 167.
Among the women, long-serving Barbados player Julia Stephenson emerged champion with a 36-hole gross 172, while Barbados juniors Alyssa Inniss-Gittens and Emily Odwin shared the second position with 175. Stephenson posted 85 yesterday to add to her first day score of 87 and Gail Fields was fourth with a gross 177.
Twelve year-old Eryn Blakeley upstaged her older rivals to win the women’s stableford competition as she finished with 70 points, three better than early leader Zerina Belgrave (67 points) and four ahead of Leiana Bynoe (66).
London-based Richard Payne produced an impressive even-par 72 yesterday to lift the senior men’s division, with a 36-hole gross 149. That was seven strokes better than second-placed Michael Haynes (156) and eight better than Oville Alleyne and Ivan Codrington (157).
Alwin Browne carried off the men’s stableford title with 73 points and was followed by John Odle (69) and Wayne Boucher (69).
Veteran Barbados player Ricky Skeete, who switched to the Super Seniors division (60 years and over) in recent times, took the gold medal in that division with a competitive gross 155 while registering 78 yesterday. Second was long-serving coach Denis Foster (157) and third former Barbados tennis champion, Tyrone Mapp (165).
The 12th edition of the RBC/Royal Bank Classic attracted 116 players this year and was organized by the Barbados Golf Association.