Ten of the islands’ young golfers, ranging in age from 7 to 18, took part in the international Doral-Publix Junior Golf Classic at Trump International Doral in Miami, Florida. The tournament comprises 600 golfers from around the world representing 45 countries, including USA, Canada, U.K., Germany, France and Spain.
The tournament was organized as part of the First Tee program, which focuses not only on teaching children the game of golf, but also the life skills and values that go with it. The entry form required the players to provide evidence not only of their golfing ability, but also their academic performance before they could be considered for a place in the field.
Andrew and Aaron Jarvis, Justin and Andrew Hastings, James Bould, Lauren Needham, Holly and Sam Mclean, and Danny and Ben Lyne had one practice round to try to get the measure of the courses and then two or three days of competition, played in flights according to age.
Both the boys 16-18 and 14-15 age categories featured a cut after two days, where the top 60 players out of a field of 100-130 qualified to play on the third day.
In the boys 14-15 division, both Aaron and Justin comfortably made the cut and maintained their good form in the final round, both achieving top-10 finishes. Justin finished tied 8th with a three day score of 222 (9 over par) and Aaron finished 10th with a score of 223 (10 over par). This was an impressive performance given the quality of the field, with some of the best juniors in the world competing.
The boys 16-18 division was played on the famous PGA course, The Blue Monster, which was set up with very fast greens and challenging tee shots. Andrew Jarvis finished with a two day score of 164, missing the cut by 4 shots.
In the boys 8-9 category (9 holes), top honors for day one went to Danny, who came in with a score of 1 under par to lead the tournament, and he finished day two in 5th place with a total score of 76 (6 over par). His brother Ben finished 10th with a score of 29 over par in the 7 and under category. In the boys 10-11 (18 holes), Sam finished 53rd with a two day score of 77 over par.
In the girls 12-13 division (18 holes), Holly finished 23rd and Lauren finished 28th. In the boys 12-13 division (18 holes), James played well and finished 46th with a two day score of 24 over par, having scored an 80 on the 2nd day, and Andrew Hastings finished 61st with a score of 37 over par.
The Cayman Islands Golf Association was delighted with the juniors’ performances at this prestigious international tournament. CIGA President Paul Woodhouse said, “it is critically important for the development of our junior golfers to be able challenge themselves on other golf courses playing against the top ranking international opposition in their age groups.
“One of the fundamental drivers behind our alliance with the Leadbetter Golf Academy is to prepare them for what is a totally different experience to our local junior events. This will enable them over time not just to participate but to compete at this higher level of international competition. It will be exciting over the next year or so to watch even more of our juniors graduate up to the main men’s and ladies’ National teams.”
The Cayman Island Golf Association is run by volunteers and is entirely dependent on annual membership dues, tournament entry fees, corporate sponsorships and various other donations to fund its programs and send teams to international events.
A full program of events is planned for 2018, beginning on Jan. 13 with round one of national team qualifying. For details, contact the secretary, Emma Woodhouse, at [email protected] or visit their website on: www.ciga.ky.