Local golfers are chasing regional props in Trinidad. One of the country’s top figures sees Cayman as a formidable foe.
John de Gannes serves as tournament director for the 55th Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship. The event, sponsored by RBC Royal Bank, takes place at the Millennium Lakes Golf Club, Trincity 1-6 August.
De Gannes states Cayman has had success in the past and deserves respect.
“Cayman golf has performed credibly in past championships and currently boasts the low scorer individual in last year’s George Teale Trophy in Samantha Widmer,” de Gannes said. “I know that Cayman have also won the seniors and Super Seniors divisions in past championships.
“Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago are generally the ones to watch in the event. Although as you can see winners have come from just about every territory in the last few years.”
Widmer is coming back this year to defend her accolade. She will be joined by a number of golfers on the national team, which was announced last month. Competing in the Men’s Open (Hoerman Cup) will be Adam Nashed, Jason Lovelock, veteran Phillip Wight and hockey players Serge Berube and Jason Parras. The mid-amateur/men over 35 category (playing for the Ramon Baez Trophy) sees last year’s top male golfer Joel Dodson partnering with sportsman Michael Wight. The Senior/Men over 50 team (chasing the Francis and Steele-Perkins Trophy) consists of top talent Tracy Moore and long-time golf figure Paul Woodhouse.
Joining Widmer on the ladies team are young prodigy Emily Ribbins and female star Isabel Lawson. George Christie is the lone alternate for the Cayman squad and also serves as team manager. Super senior talent Robert Chilman is the team coach. There is no evidence of Cayman fielding a men over 60 side for the Higgs and Higgs Trophy but the total score of all the golfers will go towards the overall team championship (the Arthur Zaide Trophy).
Among Cayman’s competition is Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and hosts Trinidad. Some of the top players in the field include Fabian Campbell (JA), Vernon Wells (Bahamas) and Paola Robles (PR).
Widmer did state previously that she relishes the challenge of competing in another Caribbean Amateur event.
“The Millennium Lakes golf course requires a great deal of skills to manage the deep bunkering and lakes that are scattered throughout,” Widmer said. “In general the Caribbean Amateur championship is one of my favourite events to play. I have been competing on the team for twelve years and I keep coming back for more. The level of golf in the Caribbean region is extremely high and competitive, which makes for a great competition.”
Interestingly Trinidad and Tobago serve as tournament hosts for the 12th occasion. This year marks the first time play has centred around Millennium Lakes, which offers a par 71 championship layout and four competition rounds. De Gannes, who hails from Trinidad, has played an active role in the Trinidad and Tobago Golf Association over the years. He went into detail about the significance of the Caribbean Amateurs to both Trinidad and the rest of the region.
“I’m a Trinidadian and been involved in golf one way or another for over 35 years. I played as a member of the Hoerman Cup team for Trinidad in 1981 (we were victorious) and have served on the management committee of the Trinidad golf association in the past. I was Tournament Director to the Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championship in Trinidad back in 2008 and agreed to help out this year as well. To my surprise I was asked to be tournament director.
“The Caribbean Amateurs is the premier amateur golf event annually in the Caribbean. It brings together nine countries and showcases the best available players. It is an eagerly anticipated event.
“Golf has steadily grown in the Caribbean over the years, in particular the last five or so years, with the success of Stephen Ames (who is from Trinidad) on the PGA Tour. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the Caribbean Amateurs. We are fortunate to have the RBC financial group as title sponsor.”