Jamaica’s team returned home last Friday from Puerto Rico where they placed second in the Hoerman Cup and fourth in the George Teale Trophy sections of the 64th Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship.
Jamaica with 19 points placed third overall behind second-place Dominican Republic (20 points) and host country Puerto Rico (36 points).
The players who returned were Justin Burrowes, William Knibbs Dr. Mark Newnham. The other six players on tour had other activities to attend to and will return home at a later date. Manager Robert Chin and the newly elected Jamaica Golf Association President Jodi Munn-Barrow returned home as well.
Puerto Rico dominated all three competition categories in the 54-hole championship which was played between August 24 to 26. They won the country trophy for the Arthur Ziadie Trophy, the male team trophy for the Hoerman Cup and the female team trophy for the George Teale Trophy.
Puerto Rico’s male team score was seven over par 871 on the back of their four best players, of which they had three in the top five positions. The female team only needed the top two scores and they had two players who were joint first along with a Dominican Republican player. Their score was 13 over par 445.
The Jamaican male team bagged second position after coming third the last time the competition was played in 2019. They posted a total team score of 50 over par 914, with the top four players who contributed to the team score being Burrowes, William Knibbs, Owen Samuda and Shamar Wilson.
Third went to the Dominican Republic with 55 over par 919 while Trinidad & Tobago was fourth with 84 over par 948 and Bahamas rounded out the top five with 96 over par 960. The other team in the competition was US Virgin Islands with 152 over par 1061.
Jeromino Esteve of Puerto Rico was the overall best player after scoring one under par 215 for the three days. Next was Rhadames Pans of the Dominican Republic with even par 216, followed by Roberto Nieves of Puerto Rico on one over par 217 and Gustavo Rangel, also of Puerto Rico, on three over par 219. Jamaica’s best player on the tour was Burrowes, who rounded out the top five with six over par 222.
“Overall I am happy with the experience. I felt like we bonded really well together. Everybody got along very well with each other and we were super supportive of each other and I am just happy to be a part of this team and represent my country,” said Burrowes.
The other three Jamaicans who contributed to the team’s second place were William Knibbs who was the only local player to post an under par score of 71 on the final day. His three-day score was nine over par 225, for seventh place. Owen Samuda’s score was 15 over par 231 for 10th place, while newcomer Shamar Wilson was 22 over par 238.
According to Knibbs, “it was a good week. The first two days were really windy. I struggled with my putting a bit and I knew I could help the team more than I did the first two days, so on the third day I went to practice two hours extra early and as it turns out I helped as I knew I could.”
Rocco Lopez on 27 over par 243 and Dr. Mark Newham with 39 over par 255 made up the six-member Jamaican team.
Dr. Newnham who had a rough time in the championship said, “The thing with golf, you have one good week and one bad week right after and I think I just wasn’t able to find a rhythm. I would just like to echo what both Justin and William said that we just had a very fantastic time with the team, we bonded really and there was just loads of positive energy and I think that’s what helped us to get through and come out with the second place.”
Jamaica’s female team of newcomer, 14-year-old Mattea Issa and Madelyn Newkik ended in fourth place after posting 68 over par 500. Puerto Rico was first with a score of 13 over par 445 while the Dominican Republic was second on 44 over par 476 and third went to US Virgin Islands with 68 over par 473.
Three players tied for first place, namely Darianys Guzman and Paola Rosario of Puerto Rico and Alexandra Swayne of the US Virgin Islands who posted three-day combined scores of 225 each. Camila Negroni of Puerto Rico with 226 and Yae Eun Kim – 231 were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Mattea Issa on 247 was sixth while Madelyn Newkirk with 253 ended in ninth place at the end of the championship.
Team manager Robert Chin summed up the team’s performance as follows: “It went very well for us. Because of the Covid we weren’t sure if this event was going to be held this year. The association still pressed along with trials and the preparation was lacking. I must say this is truly a team performance, everybody stepped up, things were tough, conditions were tough and everybody grinds every day and we held second place from start to finish.
“There are two big powerhouses in golf within the Caribbean, that is Dom Rep and Puerto Rico and we were able to maintain and held second place and that is a very credible performance and total team effort.”
The Jamaica Golf Association’s first female president as well as first executive member of the Caribbean Golf Association, Jodi Munn-Barrow was immensely proud of her Jamaican team. “They really raised the flag high, made us very proud. They went out there every day, fought hard, played their hearts out. The team spirit, the camaraderie, the energy from the team was exemplary. I hadn’t really seen that sort of synergy from a Jamaican team for a couple years so it was good to see that this year and as you know we were two girls short but it didn’t matter, everybody was helping everybody and it was really a great accomplishment this week to come back at least with a second place finish and third place overall.”
The Jamaican team was sponsored by Bert’s Auto Parts, JMMB Bank and R&R Distribution Limited.