Provo proves tougher than expected

Cayman had a lot of confidence heading into Turks and Caicos.

Local golfers were coming off a great Island Games which reaped a bronze medal.

Before that a number of players had been in excellent form and were shooting well at the North Sound Golf Club.

However the Provo course would dash away much of that positive energy. The slopes and corners contributed to Cayman’s sixth place finish at the 2009 Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship.

One of the most surprising aspects of the result was Cayman fielded a team with plenty of playing experience. In fact many had played at Provo before.

Yet as Cayman head coach Kevin Mumford states the Cayman team still have much to learn about Provo.

‘The overall trip to Turks and Caicos was excellent. The Provo golf club was in excellent shape and the tournament was very well organized. The golf course was definitely in championship form with green speeds up to 11 on the stimp meter (a device which measures the speed of greens).

‘The winds were high and gusty for three of the four rounds so these conditions plus the unfamiliarity of the golf course proved tough for our national team.’

Mumford went on say fatigue played a part in the Cayman team’s result.

‘Most of the players struggled to find rhythm in their games but battled hard all week. The tough conditions combined with the heat proved to be tough on the stamina of many players, adding to the difficulty of the week.’

The Cayman team consisted of 16 people with 14 golfers taking it to the tees.

Cayman swung for the six major trophies: George Teal Memorial (women’s event), Higgs and Higgs (senior cup), the Hoerman Cup (the main men’s title), the Ramon Baez competition (a mid-Amateur event) and the Francis/Steele-Perkins Cup.

In spite of the difficulties with the course and overall team stamina, Mumford saw many players turn in good efforts.

‘Joel Dodson picked up where he left off last year with stellar play placing tied for seventh in the men’s individual standing.

‘Johnny and Samantha Widmer proved why they are the best of Cayman’s young golfers by playing incredible and placing well in the individual standings once again. Samantha finished tied for fourth and Johnny shot a 70 on the second day (one of only seven under par rounds shot all week by the men.)

‘Michael Wight was not at his top form but fought hard like the true sportsman he is and stayed very competitive in the completion. Our super senior team of Tom Crawford and Bob Slatter remained very close to a top three finish despite having one poor day.

‘Our Mid-Am team of Trent Riggins and Colin MacKay could not find their true potential until the final day when they posted the low score of the day for that division.’

The next international competition for local golfers is the Caribbean Classic in the Bahamas. The Ocean Club course on Paradise Island is slated to be the sight for the tournament.

Mumford is among those who feel optimistic about Cayman’s chances there and at other competitions.

‘I feel that with more training, both physical and mental, the golf in Cayman will continue to grow. Even though many look at this year’s outing as a struggle, we are comparing it to last year where we finished far better than anyone’s expectations on our home course.

‘I believe it is my job as the national coach to help the team feel the same comfort, excitement and passion as we felt at home and take that spark to all the other tournaments we play. I feel we have the amount of talent here to compete with any team at any championship. We will continue to prove that we belong and grow the level of golf here on the island.’