Getting into the swing

The Cayman national team is wasting
no time getting ready for competition. Some of the island’s best golfers are making
their strokes this evening.

On Thursday 6 May the Cayman team
holds its first practice session at the North Sound Golf Club. Tee time is
slated to be at 5:30pm.

The 14 team members are gearing up
for the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships being held in Barbados next month.

Along with the segment of the Caribbean competition they are competing in, the team
members are:

Hoerman Cup – Joel Dodson (Amateur
champion), Michael Wight, Matthew Wight, Jason Perras and Johnny Widmer

Ramon Baez trophy (Mid-Amateur) –
Colin Mackay and Trent Riggins

Francis and Steele-Perkins (Senior)
– Tracy Moore and George Christie

Higgs and Higgs (Super Senior) –
Robert Chilman and Tom Crawford

George Teale trophy (Ladies) –
Samantha Widmer (Amateur champion), Siobhan Ribbins and Isabel Lawson

Alternates: Paul Woodhouse (men)
and Emily Ribbins (ladies). Team manager is Bob Slatter and the head coach is
Kevin Mumford (who will get help training the team by co-worker Mike

The side was named last week after
the 18th annual Cayman Islands Amateur Golf Championship. Selection
for the squad was based on the best four scores from six qualifying rounds
around that event.

Mumford, who doubles as the
director of golf at the 18-hole North Sound Golf Club, said he is confident
about the team heading to Barbados.

“We have a fantastic team for Barbados,” Mumford
said. “Several players are returning from past years, like with the Hoerman Cup
team. Every year we enter the tournament with more confidence and this year is
no different.

“I’m pleased with new additions
like Matthew Wight and Jason Perras who bring new fire and passion to the team.
It’s also a positive that they realize and remind the other players it’s an
honour being on the team.”

Thursday’s training session is the
first of a weekly two-day regimen as Saturdays will serve as an additional training
day. Mumford spoke about what will take place at the sessions.

“Every Thursday we’ll train for an
hour and the team will play on Saturdays,” Mumford said. “I’ll put them in game
situations and try to prepare them for the tournament.”

Among the players Mumford will be
working with is Joel Dodson. Fresh off winning his second straight Cayman
amateur championship, the Vancouver native is
eager to play in Barbados.

“This is my fourth year on the
team,” Dodson said. “Once again we have a strong side. It’s always a great
tournament and it’s a great opportunity for us to play again. The competition
is always good and I find its fun to play guys in the Caribbean
who play golf in the States.

“An example of that is our own
Johnny Widmer. He’s the number one guy on his Colorado team and they play in division one
of the NCAA, arguably the top level of amateur golf in the world.

“Elsewhere in the Caribbean there
is Ben Martin of Trinidad. For a guy like me,
who works and plays on the weekends, it’s a great chance to play with guys on
that level.”

Another player looking forward to
Barbados is Samantha Widmer, Johnny’s sister. A first-time Cayman amateur champion,
Widmer says her confidence stems from experience.

“I started competing on the
national team at a young age,” Widmer said. “It has most definitely given me
the confidence I needed to compete at an international level.

“Golf is one of those sports that
you never know what you will shoot until the end of day two when all the scores
are in.  That’s what keeps us coming back for more.”