Familiar names at TRAC golf championships

Some familiar names took the honors at this year’s TRAC Cayman Islands Amateur Championships, organized by the Cayman Islands Golf Association.

The championship took place on March 24-25 with four divisions, Super Senior, Seniors, Ladies and Men. A handicap competition is run concurrently, and a total of 55 golfers took part.

The competition was held at the North Sound Golf Club, which is the host course for the 62nd Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship, scheduled for July 31 – Aug. 3.

Super Senior victory went to Stephen Heal, his first win in this division, coming exactly 10 years after his triumph in the seniors.

Senior Champion Scott Kapuscinski defended for the third time, seeing off the challenge of Paul Woodhouse who finished runner-up for a second year.

The new Cayman Islands Ladies champion is Emily Ribbins, who adds her name on the trophy to that of her mother Siobhan, who has won it on four occasions. Emily beat two previous champions, Isabel Mendes and Nitti Howe, the winner in 2017, and two of the islands’ very promising juniors Lauren Needham and Holly Mclean (both aged 13). Holly finished in second place overall. Emily has returned home to work in Cayman after her time at Quinnipiac University where she combined her studies with playing on the golf team.

The final familiar family name belongs to the Men’s Amateur Champion for 2018, Payten Wight. Playing in the final group on Sunday with his father Michael, a previous Cayman Amateur Champion, Payten shot an even par 71 to add to the three under 68 on Saturday, giving him a winning total of 139, the lowest in recent years, possibly ever. Runner-up was Aaron Jarvis on 147 with Joel Dodson and defending champion Justin Hastings tied in 3rd on 149.

Emily and Payten are the first players on the Cayman Islands National Team sheet for the Caribbean Championship. The other five men and three ladies will be confirmed after the conclusion of the qualifying competition at the end of April.

Winners of the Handicap event were Men: Greg O’Driscoll; Ladies: Susan Dasher; and Super Seniors: Vladimir Bakk.

Talking about the event, CIGA President Paul Woodhouse thanked Director of Golf Erick Fowler and his team for their help throughout the Championship and particularly commended them on the course set-up over the two days. “The players enjoyed the tough but fair way in which the course was set up, with some real variation in tee locations making everyone think hard about their game.

“Conditions were windy, especially on Saturday, which made some of the holes particularly challenging. It was fantastic to get a taste of the variety and type of challenge the course can offer, which augurs well for the major regional event this summer.”

Presenting the trophies, TRAC General Manager Nigel Kellow congratulated everyone who took part and confirmed the company’s intention to continue in 2019.

CIGA is seeking volunteers to help with the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship. Knowledge of golf not required. Anyone interested can get in touch with CIGA at 525-0379 or [email protected]