Golf stars swing in for pro-am

Former world number one David Duval and fellow major winner Rich Beem feature in a star-studded lineup for the Cayman Islands Golf Invitational at the North Sound Club this weekend. 

Ten professionals will compete alongside sponsors in the pro-am event which starts Friday. 

England’s Brian Davis, who set the course record last year with a blistering seven-under-par 64, and Sweden’s Peter Hanson are also in the lineup. 

The pros will compete against each other, while there will be a separate team competition including the sponsors. 

Some of the pros will be at Camana Bay from 5 p.m. Saturday to meet the public and take part in a longest drive contest. 

Jeff Sauvage, general manager of the North Sound club, said the event is one of the highlights of the annual calendar. 

He said it is a fun, relaxed environment and a chance to see world-class players in action. The experience could be humbling for the hundreds of amateurs who struggle round the course on a weekly basis. 

“They shoot some low scores. We had a course record set last year. There is not so much wind forecast and with the soft ground conditions, we may see another record this year,” said Mr. Sauvage. 

The tournament, over 36 holes, starts at 1 p.m. Friday and continues at 9 a.m. Saturday and is free to spectators. A junior clinic is also planned for the weekend. 

Marcello Santi, a former pro on the European tour, has been influential in bringing big stars to the event over the years. 

Duval, who won the Open Championship in 2001 and has twice finished second in the U.S. Masters, is becoming a regular. 

“Most of the players are repeat visitors,” said Sauvage. 

“It’s a nice relaxed environment.” he said. “Once they come down and experience the hospitality and the atmosphere, it is not hard to get them to come back.” 

David Duval is back for the Cayman Islands Golf Invitational, starting Friday.

David Duval is back for the Cayman Islands Golf Invitational, starting Friday.