Top juniors tee off at Sandals Golf and Jerk Festival
TOP junior golfers, age 6-17, including members of the team that will represent the island when Jamaica hosts the Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championship in July, tee off 10:30 this morning at Sandals Golf and Country Club, contesting the second match of the Jamaica Golf Association Junior Cup.
Sandals' historic Upton course, home of its Junior Golf Programme, hosts the juniors as part of its Golf and Jerk Festival, billed as a family event to also include a mini health fair.
Representing Boys' 15 and under, Triston Brown and Radino Lobban, who tied for first place at the recent national trials, both shooting three-day totals of 245, (86, 82, 77) and (87, 77, 81), respectively, will be pitting their skills in a mixed-team team format.
Brown and Lobban, veterans of the national team, are automatic qualifiers for the July 3-6 Caribbean Champs, having shot below the maximum allowable of 246 for their age group. Michael Lowe, who shot 255 (87, 89, 79) at trials, will also be at the event representing a team.
Peter Chin, president, Jamaica Golf Association, said the four-match tournament was designed to have all age groups represented on each team.
"What they are doing is playing on different courses in Jamaica. We designed it that way to have maximum participation, mix the talent we have. We don't want to have one team strong and another weak.
"All the people based locally, who were selected for the national team, will participate," he added.
Playing for Boys' 13 and under, Rocco Lopez, whose three-day total of 222 (71, 74, 77), the lowest qualifying score of all juniors at the trials, will be on a team, so too Matthew Grant, who was second in that division, shooting 248 (85, 85, 78).
Girls' 13 and under Emily Mayne, who won at trials, scoring 246 (91, 78, 77), joins the mixed-team format along with Mattea Issa, who qualified as the youngest member of the team at 11 years old, taking second spot in the 13-and-under division with a score of 269 (91, 87, 91).
Miguel Arthurs, general manager, Sandals Golf and Country Club, said that the event, dubbed 'A Celebration of Sports, Food and Charity', will be hosted by the Sandals Foundation, which oversees its Junior Golf Programme, among other charitable ventures.
"The event is all about exposing more children to the sport and transformational development of youngsters, especially boys. It will be a fun-filled day, but most of all, I believe ... I know, we can retake Jamaica by engaging one youth at a time," he said.
"We will have the jerk festival competitors right there on the tee boxes, and the winner will be awarded, along with the winning golfers, at the awards ceremony. There will also be free financial counselling from various institutions and a kiddies village, featuring our mascot, Giffie The Golfer," Arthurs added.