Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships: Cayman men stage comeback to hoist title

The Cayman Island Golf Association teams celebrate the mens team's victory at the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships.

The Hoerman Cup is staying in Cayman.

The Cayman men’s amateur golf team became regional champions for the first time last week, when it edged the Dominican Republic by five strokes at the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships.

Cayman finished second in 2008 and third in last year’s championships, which were held in the Dominican Republic. But this year, with Cayman’s North Sound Golf Club serving as host, the six-member team assembled by Cayman came back on the final day to overtake the three-time defending champions.

The Dominican Republic had won the Hoerman Cup in three straight years and went into the final day of the 2018 competition with a five-stroke advantage. But Cayman’s team came to the course with a simple plan on the final day and wound up making up 10 strokes overall on the Dominicans.

“It was a surreal moment,” said Cayman coach Erick Fowler, who also serves as the director of golf at the North Sound Golf Club. “It took a few days to set in and I don’t think it’s completely set in yet, what it means to this island and to those guys. They put in a lot of hard work.”

Cayman’s team – Aaron Jarvis, Payten Wight, Brian Ross, Andrew Jarvis, Justin Hastings and Philip Wight – was the only team where all six members shot in the 70’s for all four of their rounds.

Aaron Jarvis and Payten Wight finished in a three-way tie for third place with 287 strokes over the four-day tournament, which ran from July 31 to Aug. 3, and both Brian Ross (291) and Andrew Jarvis (292) finished in the top 10 overall.

The Cayman Islands teams get ready for action.

Longtime Cayman stalwart Michael Wight – who had participated in 18 straight Caribbean championships before this year – had to pull out due to injury right before the tournament started. He was replaced by his brother Philip, who shot a 309 and finished 34th out of 47 golfers.

Mr. Fowler advised his team not to play as if North Sound Golf Club was their home course.

“I told the guys for a month leading up that I wanted them to treat it as an away golf course,” said Mr. Fowler. “We took it as a new golf course every day. There is somewhat of an advantage. We know how the golf course plays in the wind. There might be a little advantage but not much.”

Aaron Jarvis gives the thumbs up at the opening ceremony of the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships.

The team’s camaraderie has been growing for quite some time, said Mr. Fowler, and he advised his golfers to take a deep breath and try to center their shots on the final day. Everyone on the team has exhibited great growth, he said, and they need to continue to improve their game in the future.

Mr. Fowler said he believes that Justin Hastings and Aaron Jarvis will probably play golf in college, and he also said that the victory in the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships was a result of the team’s hard work and perseverance.

“I knew we had a good shot. I never discount the way these guys play golf,” he said. “Going into the last day, it was a surprise. We were sitting five back on the final day. They really superseded my goals.”

Cayman’s women finished sixth out of seven teams in the championships, but Holly Mclean finished 15th overall as an individual. Ms. McLean won her age group at the Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships earlier this summer.

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