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Rain delays golf tourney

Weather pushes back championships until tomorrow

Today’s play in the 2014 Massy United Insurance Barbados Open Golf Championships was suspended due to heavy rain.

Following meetings with management of the Barbados Golf Club and the Royal Westmoreland course, the Barbados Golf Association (BGA) reported that  management of the courses deemed the venues unfit for play.

Weather permitting, the BGA said the championships would continue at Apes Hill and Royal Westmoreland on Saturday.

All divisions in the Massy United Insurance Barbados Open are also scheduled to  conclude at Royal Westmoreland on Sunday and, in view of the rain-hit first day, the BGA said the champions in each flight will be decided over 36 holes.

Just over 120 players from the Caribbean, North America and Europe are taking part in this year’s championships and fans will be eager to see if there is anyone who will emerge to stop James Johnson from winning the title this year.

James Johnson on the greens.

James Johnson on the greens.

The Barbados champion and national captain is after his 13th Open men’s title. The men’s and women’s championship divisions (featuring players with 0-9 handicaps) will play at Royal Westmoreland while the Men’s First Flight, Women’s First-Flight, Seniors (over 50 years) and Super-Seniors (over 60 years) will be played at Apes Hill tomorrow.

In the absence of OECS champion Trevor Levine, who was unable to depose the defending champion after leading by two strokes on the final day last year, Johnson’s main challengers are expected to be compatriots, Scott Stollmeyer, Julian Jordan, Elvis Medford and Carlsen Leacock.

Trinidadian teenagers Liam Bryden (1 handicap) and Sol Joanni (2 handicap), who both made favourable impressions in the Trinidad Open earlier this year are also expected among the contenders.

The wind and the challenges of the expansive Westmoreland course are certain to test the stroke control of players but Johnson said he was ready to go after another national title.

“ I know the course well and I have won before . . . so that should that serve me in good stead. I enjoy playing the Barbados Open and I am definitely seeking to make it No.13,” he said.

The championship flight has also attracted a number of the island’s multi-talented sportsmen, good enough to boast single-digit handicaps. Among these are former Barbados tennis players Michael Date and Roger Edghill and former West Indies cricket coach Otis Gibson.

Women’s champion for the past two years, Rae Muffin Stollmeyer will not be defending her title this year and the way is open for a new queen of local golf.

Fifteen-year-old Mavi Vergos, who was second in 2013, is tipped to lift the crown but will have to stave off experienced campaigners such as Lyn DeCambra-Mcleod, Sally Schofield and Pauline Raynor of Trinidad.

Mavi Vergos

Mavi Vergos

A new champion is also certain to emerge among the senior men, where last year’s champion Robert Piggott and veteran contender Ricky Skeete, both Barbados players, have moved into the Super-Seniors.

Barbadian Bill Weir is defending the Super Seniors crown but will have his work cut out in fending off the likes of Caribbean champion Monty Chapman of Trinidad and Skeete.

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