Heart are light and the anticipation high as Jamaica’s junior stars will have an opportunity to record the country’s best-ever finish in the Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championship on home soil.
This, as the 31st staging of the championship makes a return to Jamaica after last welcoming the Caribbean to the island in 2009, and the Caymanas Golf Club in St Catherine is expected to be buzzing with excitement over the three days of intense competition.
The 54-hole championship is scheduled to tee off next Wednesday and end on Friday and will see 89 juniors between the ages of 11 and 18 doing battle.
Eight countries — Jamaica, the Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico and the Turks and Caicos Islands — will be vying for the coveted Caribbean title, along with six age-group honours, including the James Moss-Solomon Trophy for Boys 18 and under.
The age-group categories are 13 and under boys and girls and 15 and under boys and girls.
With Jamaica’s best-ever finish in the Caribbean Championships back in 2016 when they took the runner-up spot in Barbados, Simone Foote, marketing manager of title sponsors BCIC, believes this year’s tournament will be a momentous one for the island.
She pointed out that her company’s $1-million sponsorship is a part of its mandate to promote a tradition of excellence through the development of future leaders and role models in education and sports.
“Our title sponsorship of the 2018 Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships provides a springboard for talented youth while instilling the values of professionalism, learning, passion and integrity.
“We feel it is imperative to foster the growth and development of the participants, who are our future leaders, and BCIC is proud to play our part in cultivating opportunities such as these,” Foote said, while addressing the launch at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Wednesday.
“We are excited about being able to share in the vision of the Jamaica Golf Association, as BCIC’s partnership with the JGA will continue after this event. Our intention is to ensure that more of our youth have the opportunity to participate and learn more about this wonderful sport.
“So we look forward to further contributing to the successful exposure and advancement of golf and its young players and hope that our input will contribute to the continued development of the sport not only in Jamaica but also internationally,” she added.
Jamaican golfers have won five individual trophies over the years with the most recent being in 2016 when Hannah Foster (15 and under) took home the Kenneth Francis Trophy and Evelyn Lai bagged the Isabelle Marley Trophy for sportsmanship.
The other trophies came in 2015, 2010 and 2008 with Jonathan Newnham earning two of the three trophies and Romaine Evans taking the James Moss Solomon Trophy in 2015.
Newnham won the Arturo Pellerano Trophy in 2010 and the Bob Slater Trophy in 2008.