THE REPUBLIC Bank-sponsored Junior Golf Open tournament will tee off on Tuesday at the Millennium Lakes Golf and Country Club, Trincity.
This event, organised by the TT Golf Association, will run until Thursday. It will cater for golfers in the boys and girls 11-13, 14-15 and 16-18 age groups.
According to Gerard Darlington, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the TT Golf Association, “Republic Bank, our sponsor, has been supporting golf for the past two decades, junior golf in particular, and we’re happy to be partnering with them to have yet another event.”
Darlington, during an interview at the tournament’s launch last Thursday in Trincity, continued, “The Junior Open is the pinnacle event on the golfing calendar for juniors in Trinidad and Tobago.
“For the more experienced juniors, it’s a three-day tournament; for the less experienced golfers, they will have a nine-hole game, a six-hole game (and) a three-hole game. We’ll also have a clinic where we’ll invite a number of students from (all) over Trinidad and Tobago to participate, where they’ll learn how to drive, chip and putt. That part of the tournament is absolutely free of charge. That’s part of the whole sponsorship and the TTGA’s initiative.”
With regards to the tournament sponsor, Darlington said, “We’ve always been transparent and accountable of how we do business so the sponsor has kept the faith.”
Darlington expects about 100 golfers to be competing at the Junior Open. “That would be a combination of all the levels,” he said. “One of the beautiful things about junior golf that drives us to do this is the benefits to juniors.”
Christopher Richards Jr, who copped the TT Open a month ago at the St Andrew’s Golf Course, Moka, Maraval, will be looking to continue his fine form at this week’s event.
“The build-up has been going good so far,” said Richards Jr. “I’m enjoying the practice, the fine-tuning of the game.”
Reflecting on his win at the TT Open, Richards Jr said, “It has sunk I now. It’s still an amazing feeling winning the Open at such a young age.”
Does he feel pressured to perform, since he’s the TT Open champ or he’ll let things flow? Richards Jr replied, “How things come, I’ll let it flow. I’ll keep as relaxed as possible.”
Among the golfers due to battle the 16-year-old Richards Jr in the boys’ 16-18 category is Jeanmarc Chevrotiere.
Asked about his preparations for this competition, the 17-year-old Trincity resident responded, “It’s been going pretty good, practicing very hard over the last few weeks, especially after the TT Open.”
The Trinity East student said he hopes “to play three solid rounds of golf and to give my competitors a (fight).”
Ethan Hill, a 14-year-old from Maraval, will be among the competitors in the boys’ 14-15 division.
“I’m pretty excited. I want to see how I would play in this tournament, since I didn’t get to play in the (TT) Open,” said the Fatima College Form Three student. “This is my first major tournament for the year.”
With regards to the covid19 protocols, Hill said, “It’s still normal for me since golf is one of the sports that you can still play.”
Elise La Borde will feature in the girls’ 11-13 age group and Jada Charles will compete in the girls’ 16-18 category.
About their preparations for this week’s event, La Borde noted, “It’s been going pretty well. Since the covid I’ve gotten more time to practice, since I don’t have to be physically in school.”
Charles pointed out, “It has been great. I’ve been practicing a lot on afternoons. I’ve been practicing different stuff and it has been going well.”
La Borde is a 13-year-old student of Holy Faith Convent in Couva. Looking towards this week’s contest, she said, “I just plan to play well so I can see how my game has improved over the period of time, and to have fun.”
Charles, a 16-year-old St Francois Girls’ student, noted, “I expect (to play) some good golf and to enjoy (the event).”