The Caribbean’s premier golfing event is teeing off shortly and a pair of countries are seeking success.
Jamaica and the Bahamas are two of the countries taking part in the RBC Royal Bank 55th Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships at the Millennium Lakes Golf Club in Trincity, Trinidad.
Both nations will rely on the individual skills of its players to cop trophies in six categories: Men’s Open (Hoerman Cup), Men Over 50 (Francis and Steele-Perkins Trophy), Men Over 60 (Higgs and Higgs Trophy), Men Over 35 (Ramon Baez Trophy), Ladies’ Open (George Teale Trophy) and overall team championship (Arthur Zaide Trophy).
Key to the Bahamas’ efforts will be Vernon Wells, a cornerstone of Bahamian golf. Vernon’s amateur qualifications are impressive. He is a five-time Bahamas National Amateur and six-time Senior Open champion, multiple Caribbean Amateur appearances. He was on the Bahamas team that won in 1978 and in 1999.
Vernon will be helped by Oswald Moore (competing the Higgs and Higgs Cup for the second time), Charlie Butler (a Caribbean Amateurs alternate in 2010), Benjamin Davis (at age 17 he has already played in three Caribbean Amateurs, eight Caribbean Junior Amateurs and is in 11th grade at IMG Academies), Devaughn Robinson (a second year masters student at Texas Southern University, he has played in four Caribbean Amateurs and Caribbean Junior Amateurs), Oren Butler (played four times in the Caribbean Amateurs and excels driving the ball), Richard Gibson (sports four years of Caribbean Amateurs experience and is this year’s Bahamian national amateur champion), George Swann (two years experience and was second among seniors last year), Paul Bowe (a year’s experience on the senior team and George’s partner), Chris Harris (29 years representing the Bahamas at this event and is a four-time national champion) and Shane Gibson (member of parliament in Nassau and former national champion who has represented Bahamas four times at the competition).
In a brief statement the Bahamas Golf Association offered advice to their competition stating: “Vernon has managed and captained many of the Bahamas Caribbean Amateur teams, appeared on numerous World Amateur Golf Championship teams and is player/coach of this year’s Bahamas team. Vernon is ready and our competitors better be ready.”
The Jamaican golfers meanwhile will be adding reggae rhythm to the event. Leading their assault will be national team manager Teddy ‘Dr. Grain’ Richards, a calm but fiercely competitive individual with tremendous golfing experience. His team-members will make their way through the competitive rounds with much enthusiasm and talent.
The standout on the team is Fabian Campbell, Jamaica’s current national amateur champion. Campbell, who possesses a smooth swing, also excelled at the amateur section of the Professional Golfers’ Association Junior Players Championship.
Joining Campbell are Keith Stein (produced flawless rounds of golf in national trials and competes for Ramon Baez trophy), Sean Morris (another sudden contender on the Ramon Baez squad), Robert ‘Bobby’ Chin (the sole lefty on the team and has experience in the better-ball format), Gregory Chong (a rookie in the Men’s Over 35 category), Dennis Atkinson (currently the best super senior golfer in Jamaica), Fred Sutherland (a determined player for the Higgs and Higgs Trophy), Wesley Brown (a former star junior golf making his second Caribbean Amateurs appearance), Matthew Smith (a recent graduate of Mercer University in Georgia where he played collegiate golf), Radcliff Knibbs (Jamaica’s 2010 national champion), Johnathan Newnham (captain of the national junior team and a secondary school student with three years experience), Jodie Munn-Barrow (competed in 15 Caribbean Amateurs since 1991), Michelle Gabay (a relative newcomer making her second stint with the national team) and Leiza Munn-Blakely (making her first Caribbean Amateurs appearance since 2007).
Other teams from around the region competing for regional supremacy include the Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Barbados, Trinidad, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the Cayman Islands.
President of the Trinidad and Tobago Golf Association Robert Costelloe has much praise for the title sponsor.
“We are quite pleased that RBC Royal Bank has agreed to assume the role of title Sponsor,” Costelloe said. “They have brought significant resources to the successful management and hosting of the event.”
The tournament concludes on 6 August. Suresh Sookoo, Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean Banking at RBC, states the bank is pleased to be involved.
“RBC Royal Bank sees the sponsorship of this regional tournament, the Caribbean’s largest annual golf event, as an ideal visibility opportunity,” Suckoo said. “We’re striving to raise awareness of our brand across the Caribbean.”