Jamaica depart for Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships

Monday, July 22, 2019

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The bulk of the Jamaican team departed the island yesterday for the 32nd staging of the Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships at Albany Golf Course in Nassau, Bahamas.

The event runs from tomorrow through to Friday.

Everyone was upbeat about the team's chances of taking home the team prize — the Hank James Trophy — for the first time.

“I think that we have a full team and we are represented in all the different age groups, because it is a cumulative tournament. We, of course, will have individual standouts, but I think we can take the overall title this year,” said coach Jason Lopez, who spoke glowingly of the strength of the team, including the new players.

Captain Justin Burrowes, who is in his final year as a junior, expects to defend his Under-18 title from 2018, as well as to lead the team by example and help them to do well. “I think this is the best team we have ever had and this is the hardest we have ever worked. Last year we came up just short of winning, and we have been putting that little extra this year and I think it will pay off.”

Mattea Issa, at 12 years of age, is the youngest member of the team even though this is her second year representing Jamaica in the championship. She was very excited. “I am very excited, very, very excited; can't wait. The course is very tricky; it's not like anything that we know. It's going be very new to us, so we are going to try our best, all of the team, we are going to try our best. I want to do well, that's the mindset that I'd like to have.”

Tristan Brown, who was injured just before last year's championship and who Coach Lopez feels was the missing link to Jamaica's win then, looks forward to the championship. “I have been working hard, my team has been working hard, so I am very confident in my team. I think me playing this year, I am going to go out there and do my best and just play well.”

Jamaica's junior golf programme has flourished under Alison Reid's guidance. She defended Jamaica's preparation for the championship. “What we did, we chose courses in Jamaica that had similar conditions — so we went to Tryall, Half Moon and Cinnamon Hill because most of those courses have a lot of wind and the Bahamas, because it's on the water, it has a lot of wind. We wanted to give the children that experience of the wind and the wider fairways, that kind of thing, just to give them the kind of idea that they are up for.”

The full team reads Boys' 18 & under — Justin Burrowes, Jack Stein and Sebert Walker Jr; Boys' 15 & under — Rocco Lopez, Tristan Brown and Matthew Grant; Boys' 11 & under — Aman Dhiman and Trey Williams. The Girls' 18 & under — Hannah Foster and Katharine Lee; Girls' 15 & under — Emily Mayne and Eryn Blakeley; while Mattea Issa and Winnie Lau will compete in the Girls' 11-13 age group.

Action is set to get underway tomorrow for the three-day, 54-hole championship, which will run until Friday.

The championship was played in Jamaica in 2018, when the island matched its best performance of second behind defending champions Puerto Rico.


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