Golfers bring Cayman to the fore

The Cayman Islands amateur golf team has pulled off a sensational result by coming second in the Caribbean championships.


Dodson was Caymans most consistent.
Photo: Ron Shillingford

Tournament sponsors HSBC must be rubbing their hands in glee after investing heavily in the Cayman men’s team that finished 20 shots behind champions Puerto Rico in the Hoerman Cup at the North Sound Club on Saturday.

Puerto Rico’s total score of 1153 who emphatic compared to Cayman’s 1173 but they finished ahead of traditionally much stronger countries.

Cayman came from fourth after three rounds on Friday to snatch their exalted position in the 52nd running of the annual event, easily their highest placing for years.

Cayman are used to coming in the bottom three of this 10-nation competition but by hosting the tournament and finding the determination not to once again be also-rans saw them beat the usually stronger Trinidad & Tobago by three shots and Dominican Republic by six shots.

Cayman’s Hoerman Cup team of Joel Dodson, Ali Hall-Jones, Michael Wight, Robert Woods and Johnny Widmer battled beyond all expectations. A tremendous performance that deserves every accolade out there. Statistically, Dodson was Cayman’s best player with rounds of 74, 72, 68 and 74 for a total of 288, six shots ahead of Hall-Jones.

The other Cayman team members were Colin MacKay and Trent Riggins in the mid-amateurs for the Ramon Baez Trophy and Robert Chilman and Stephen Heal in the seniors for the Francis & Steele-Perkins Cup.

Andy Newton and Don Stewart were the super seniors in the Higgs & Higgs Trophy. The women’s team for the George Teale Memorial Trophy was Nitty Howe, Siobhan Ribbins and Samantha Widmer.

Paul Woodhouse, vice-president of the Cayman Islands Golf Association, said: ‘We had a most fantastic day here. Puerto Rico were the outstanding team across all divisions across all the days. They were almost all the big competitions.

‘Aside from that Cayman has produced its best performance in any golfing competition. From memory the last best place by a Cayman team in the Hoerman Cup was sixth or seventh. So coming second is just unbelievable.

‘In the ladies event they came in fourth. In the mid-amateur and senior events they came in third and the super seniors finished strongly. It was just a tremendous team performance.

‘Everyone put in a great round of golf at least one day. It was just a great overall performance from the entire team.

‘I think everyone had a fantastic time. We had so many compliments. So many said that it was the best run event they’ve attended in the Caribbean. The course was in the best condition.

‘It’s been the most wonderful week. A huge amount of work has gone into it. Months of work and countless people helped with the organisation. Many, many thanks to all those.

‘Unfortunately, it will be another 10 years before we host another one but at least everyone will enjoy a good dinner and a few beers tonight.’

Cayman coach Kevin Mumford said: ‘This is unbelievable. When I came to this island in January people were excited about this tournament and we started working on it. The players were cautiously optimistic. I think we exceeded those expectations and I couldn’t be prouder of them. We worked very hard the last two months and I’m lost for words.’

Mumford did not think the players’ familiarity was a significant issue. ‘Home field advantage is positive and negative. It is positive because we’re supposed to know the course but home field advantage is also negative because expectations are put upon you.

‘And for the first couple of days I think it showed with a little bit of nerves. They were trying to settle in and eventually did and the true scores showed.’