Young golfers ready for the United Insurance Barbados Open

Expectations are high for 15-year-old Spencer Smith.
Expectations are high for 15-year-old Spencer Smith.

Several of Barbados’ young golfers will be put to the test this weekend in the 30th edition of the United Insurance Barbados Open Championships.

That’s when the skills of rising club-swingers will be showcased over three days in this major tournament for local and regional players that has come to be regarded as the island’s national championships.

The 2013 United Insurance Barbados Open tees-off on Friday at the Barbados Golf Club and play continues on Saturday at The Country Club at Sandy Lane and on Sunday at Royal Westmoreland.

National juniors Spencer Smith, Donald Leacock and Iz Hustler, who represented the island at the 2013 Caribbean Junior Championships in the Cayman Islands, are all entered to tussle with more seasoned players and will have to produce their best games to get a slot on the leader-board.

For 15 year-old Smith, a student of the St. Michael School, he will tee-off in the Championship Flight (players with 0 to 9 handicaps) for the first time after notable victories over more experienced players in the first flight (players with 10 to 19 handicaps) at last year’s Open and the Royal Bank Classic.

Smith successfully lowered his handicap from 13 to 7 over the past year and will tee-up in the same division as defending champion James Johnson and the likes of Julian Jordan, Scott Stollmeyer, Marcus Clarke , Trinidadians Adrian Sampson and Wayne Baptiste and highly rated Kittitans Trevor Levine and Raymond Percival.

12-year-old Iz Hustler.
12-year-old Iz Hustler.

There will be higher demands at a higher level but he is not daunted. “I have been practising and I would like to break 80 everyday. It will be tough but I will play my best and try to win,” said Smith.

For 17 year-old Leacock, the Barbados junior captain, it is another outing among top-flight players after qualifying for the senior team and representing the island for the first time in the Hoerman Cup last month in the USVI.

Having managed to lower his handicap to 1 in recent months, Leacock , a student of Harrison College, is also hoping to show his mettle and upstage some of the more seasoned campaigners.

Leacock also seems not daunted by the competition as he was second to Johnson in the 2011 RBC Classic , holding his own among the low-handicap players.

Combermere student, 12 year-old Iz Hustler, is on an exciting learning curve and is relishing the opportunity to play among accomplished seniors in the Barbados Open for the first time.

Hustler, who is expected to compete in the men’s first flight, is a graduate of the annual BGA summer camp at the Barbados Golf Club and was good enough to make the junior national team this year. (BB)

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