United Open tees off todayCarlsen Leacock preparing to take a stroke on the greens at Sandy Lane yesterday. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)
By Bernard Babb | Fri, September 14, 2012 - 12:03 AM
More than 100 local and visiting golfers will tee-off today seeking glory and prizes in the 29th United Insurance Barbados Open being played at the The Country Club course at Sandy Lane.
Regarded as the national championships of local golf, the three-day United Insurance Barbados Open is organized by the Barbados Golf Association and has attracted 110 players in five divisions.
Players from Barbados, the United States, Canada, St Kitts/Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago are contesting the tournament.
Defending champion James Johnson, Barbados’ leading player for the past ten years, will be the man to beat in the championship division, where he has won ten of the last 14 Open tournaments.
The Barbados national captain has been in outstanding form this year, also winning Open tournaments in Trinidad and St Kitts, and is seeking to create history at the upscale Country Club where the United Insurance Open is being played for the first time.
“I always keep my expectations high, so I’m hoping to be in a good position to win again this year. The field is tough every year so I know I have to play good golf over three days,” said Johnson.
Trinidadians William Shaw and Adrian Sampson, and top Barbadian players Marcus Clarke, Julian Jordan, Judd Cozier, Mark Blakeley and Brett Clarke are among those expected to offer the toughest competition to Johnson.
Cricket legend and former Barbados national golfer Sir Garry Sobers is also set to compete in the men’s championship where 30 players are entered. He was among those sharpening their putting skills in practice rounds yesterday at The Country Club.
Close to 40 players are registered to compete in the men’s first flight (10-21 handicap) while the senior’s division is expected to be highly competitive again with Barbados players Robert Piggott, Ricky Skeete, Michael Haynes and cricket legend Desmond Haynes set to renew their rivalry.
Among the women, Antigua’s Kimesha Anthony will not be defending the title she won last year and veteran Barbados player Julia Stephenson, Muffin Stollmeyer and young Mavi Vergos will lead the tussle for the women’s championship.
Director of Golf at Sandy Lane, Elvis Medford, confirmed that a major challenge for competitive golfers this weekend will be super-fast greens that will tax and test their short game.
“The Sandy Lane greens are faster than all others on the island. The speeds are not normal and this is mainly due to the size of the greens and the quality of the turf,” said Medford, a national player who will also be competing in the tournament. (PR)
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