Cayman golfers overcome challenges

Britannia is the only golf course that has been open in the Cayman Islands since Hurricane Ivan struck last September. Conditions at Britannia are very difficult. With no irrigation system and few pieces of equipment surviving the hurricane, the course is wildly overgrown and very dry.

That hasn’t stopped local golfers, however, as this month saw the 13th staging of the Cayman Islands Golf Association Amateur Championship and the final qualifying rounds for berths on the Cayman Islands National Team.

Conditions were brutal with winds upwards of 40 mph and weed upwards of 40 inches the course was playable only for the toughest competitors. Fifteen year old Caymanian Johnny Widmer used his considerable length downwind and solid ball striking to card a magnificent 73. Johnny’s only real mistake was in over-hitting the 362 yard 6th hole by 40 yards-from the tee! Robert Woods and Paul Wammer finished day one in equal second place.

Day 2 brought little relief as the winds stayed strong and the weeds grew longer! However the scoring was much improved. Johnny Widmer remained calm under pressure from veterans Woods, Wammer and Riggins, and despite a few wayward strokes carded a solid 71. The battle for second place was between Robert Woods, Trent Riggins, Paul Wammer, Matt Luke and Robert Chilman. All five played solid golf but made no impression on the leader. Woods (72) and Chilman (71) finished tied for second.

In the Ladies Championship, 18 year old Samantha Widmer overpowered the field with an excellent 74 backed up by a 77 on Sunday.

The National Team will play four rounds at the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club from August 7th to the 13th, 2005. August tends to bring plenty of rain to St. Kitts and therefore the team will be prepared for all weather conditions. Ten countries are being represented at the event, including Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and the Bahamas. The Cayman Islands Senior Team won the Francis Steele-Perkins Trophy at last year’s tournament held in the Bahamas and looks to make it two years in a row.

Practices have been taking place on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays thus far, even though there are limited golf facilities on the island.

This year is the first year that the Cayman Islands Golf Association (CIGA) has not been able to fund the teams participation at the Caribbean Golf Championships, and as such they are seeking sponsorship to cover the associated costs. Any interested parties should contact Gary Carroll at 525-4347 or by e-mail at gary_p_carroll @ hotmail.com or Robert Woods at 926 1380.

Additional information about the tournament can be found at www.cag2005.com.

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