Two junior golfers, Aaron Jarvis and Holly Mclean, traveled to St. Andrews on the eastern coast of Scotland to represent the Cayman Islands in the Junior Open Championship on July 16-18.
The tournament was held on the Eden Course and comprised a stroke play contest, with 135 of the best junior players in the world from 72 countries taking part.
After two rounds of play, the top 80 make the cut and play in the third round.
The tournament started with a practice round on Sunday, July 15, followed by the opening ceremony held on the first tee of the Old Course, at which Aaron and Holly had the opportunity to meet 2017 Open Champion Jordan Spieth.
Aaron teed off early in cool, breezy weather conditions and played well for a two over par 70.
Holly, who at 13 was one of the youngest competitors in the field, went off in the afternoon in similar conditions and shot a solid 83.
The roles were reversed, with Holly going out early and Aaron playing in the afternoon. The conditions were similar, but with some intermittent rain. Holly played well on the front nine, but found the course tough coming down the stretch on the back nine and ended with a score of 86, for a total of 29 over par, unfortunately missing the cut for day 3. Aaron continued with his good form and finished with a score of 75, for a two day total of seven over par, in 25th place and making the cut.
The wind picked up on day 3, drying out the greens and fairways. Aaron again played some nice golf and finished with another score of 75, finishing the tournament with a 12 over par total, and placing 30th overall. This is the first time that a Cayman junior player has made the cut at the Junior Open Championship.
Before playing the tournament, both Aaron and Holly had the opportunity to play a round of golf on the Old Course.
Aaron said, “I’m really happy with my performance considering it was my first time playing on a links course. It was really tough on the front nine as well, but I am really happy that I was given the chance to experience the competition. It was a good start and I played really well, especially on the back nine. I tried to stay patient, even when things weren’t going well. I also enjoyed playing a round on the Old Course, prior to the tournament. You can feel the history when you play it, including the road hole and the bridge on the 18th fairway.”
Holly said, “Great experience, definitely made me nervous on the first tee, and to be able to think that the 2018 champion golfer played in this tournament 10 years ago made me proud that I have earned my spot in this tournament. Looking forward to the next time I play in this event.”
Paul Woodhouse, president of Cayman Islands Golf Association, said, “This was a unique opportunity for two of Cayman’s top juniors to compete in a world-class event staged in the home of Golf and run superbly by the R&A, the world’s governing body. I’ve been going to St. Andrews for 30-odd years now and watching this championship still gave me goosebumps – I can only imagine how our juniors felt!”
Both young golfers will be taking part in the 2018 Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship running July 30 to Aug. 3 at the North Sound Golf Club.