National golf champs to swing at Sandals
Jamaica's top golf tournament, the national amateur championship, heads out of town this Labour Day weekend, May 21-23, GPS coordinates set for Sandals' Resorts' Upton Golf Course in St Ann.
Launched yesterday at the scenic course as the Sandals Jamaica National Amateur Golf Championship, the tournament will be played outside the Corporate Area for the first time in its 24-year history.
Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) president, Peter Chin, said he was pleased the tournament is being sponsored by Sandals Resorts and affiliates ATL Autobahn.
"It's the premier event on the golfing calendar and attracts the best of Jamaica's golfers. The course is in superb condition so it wasn't a hard decision," Chin said, adding that the tournament will also provide national players with a tune-up for the Caribbean Golf Championships.
David Mais, tournament director, said he expected more than 80 entries spanning four categories - Men, Ladies, Juniors and Super Seniors.
"Romaine Evans, one of our top juniors, is out of the Sandals Academy. He is one of the top juniors in the Caribbean and we will be keenly watching the competition between him and Zandre Roye," he said, referring to the two Sandals Academy youngsters in the audience at the launch.
"The field promises to be a very strong one. The national team is going off to compete in the Hoerman Cup and George Teale in the Bahamas, in August, for which the trials are June, so this tournament is a great warm-up," Mais added.
Brian Roper, general manager, Beaches Ocho Rios, described the JGA's decision to choose the Sandals Golf and Country Club as "a bold move".
"The entire team, greens' superintendent, caddies and ground staff have worked tirelessly to ensure the course is in pristine condition, so nobody won't have the course to blame for their scores," he mused.
Roper threw out a national challenge for Jamaican golfers to eye the 2020 Olympics.
"Golf is big. It will be at the Olympics for the first time this year and Jamaica can look towards 2020," he noted.