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Golfer getting ready for CAC tourney

Bernard Babb

Golfer getting ready for CAC tourney

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Barbados’ top amateur golfer, who will create history when he represents the country at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games later this month, says he has work to do to take on the region’s best players in Mexico.

James Johnson, who was defeated by four strokes by teaching-professional Roger Beale in a Challenge Match last weekend at Royal Westmoreland, said the encounter exposed the areas where more work was needed.

“It was a practice match for me and it served the purpose. I am trying to get competition ready over the next three weeks and I will be working with coach Denis Foster on a number of areas,” said Johnson.

The 54-hole Challenge Match began at the Sandy Lane Country Club on Friday and finished at Royal Westmoreland on Sunday, with Beale posting scores of 70, 72, and 69 for a gross 211. Johnson shot 74, 68 and 73 for a gross 215.

Over the 54 holes, Beale, who is preparing to contest the Canadian Club Pro-Championship in Arizona later this month, showed great consistency off the tee and was equally impressive with his approach shots.

Johnson, who is driving the ball longer than at any previous time in his career, will be seeking to improve his accuracy in hitting more fairways in coming weeks while fully aware that he will need to have his “A game” for the CAC competition.

Veteran coach Denis Foster, who will travel to Mexico as Johnson’s manager at the CAC Games, said the Challenge Match was organised as part of efforts to get Johnson playing in pressure situations and sharpen-up for the CAC Games.

“It was a useful event and we have identified the areas we will be working on. We will be working on both the mental and physical game,” Foster said.

The golf tournament at the 2014 CAC Games will be played at the Punta Tiburon Club in Vera Cruz, from November 26 to 29 and will be a 72-hole, stroke-play event.

The competition is open to both amateurs and professionals and will feature 20 male and 20 female golfers.

It is the first time that golf has been included in the CAC Games, which is regarded as a positive spin-off from its recent re-introduction to the Olympic Games, and Foster also described the development as good for golf in the region.

“It is very great for the sport. It seems that the CAC will be a conduit for qualification for the Pan Am Games in Toronto and once we can establish a presence at these games, it will raise the bar for amateur golf in Barbados,” Foster said.