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Lara, Latapy tee off at Moka

 Former West Indies captain Brian Lara and ex-Soca Warriors player and coach Russell Latapy will do battle in the Championship Division today when the Trinidad and Tobago Golf Association’s (TTGA) 2014 season tees off with the two-day TATIL Open Invitational, at St Andrew’s Golf Course in Moka, Maraval from 7.50 a.m.

In what TTGA tournament director Christopher Harries called an open contest, Lara and Latapy are expected to face off against 2013 National Open champion Shane Costelloe, on the mend from knee surgery and who hasn’t been able to practice as regularly as he would have liked.

Other challengers include Clint  Alfred, Liam Bryden and former T&T Open winner Deryck Gonsalves.

Lara tees off at 12.40 with Gonsalves, Patrick Boocock and Dinesh Jackree, while Latapy tees off ten minutes later with Costelloe, Dave Rajkumar and Robert Delaney

“Anybody could win...Shane Costelloe has been injured but he has the quality that he could come back  and win despite that,” Harries said.

The way is open for a new TATIL champ as last year’s male champion, top junior Sachin Kumar, will not defend his title due to his scholastic commitments in the US. 

On the women’s side of the draw, defending champion Christina Ferreira will be seeking a hat-trick of titles and her main competition is expected to be Ysabelle Lawrence.

But, Harries said, Ferreira’s younger sister  Anna, Sabrina Mitchell, Torri Baptiste and veterans  Pauline Raynor and  Amoy Chan Fung could also figure.

Harries said the Super Seniors division looks really competitive, with stalwarts 

Monty Chapman, Tyrone Leong, Arjoon Samlal, Wayne Roberts and Louis De Meilliac all in contention, with Richard Camacho, Robert Costelloe, Shane’s father, and Wayne Baptiste also in the fray.

The annual 36-hole tournament, which is being sponsored by TATIL for the 21st consecutive year, represents a chance for golfers to start accumulating points towards national rankings for places on T&T teams, including the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships, scheduled for Puerto Rico in July.

 Harries said there will be a lot of competition for selection on the national squad, who will be defending their Ladies title and hoping to wrest the Hoerman Cup from hosts Puerto Rico.

In the TATIL Open Invitational, the golfers will compete in six categories—Championship, 1st Flight, 2nd Flight, Seniors, Super Seniors and Ladies Flight.

Course-wise, Harries said St Andrew’s is in excellent condition and the forecast is for scattered showers.

“Once the showers scatter somewhere else besides Moka, we will be okay, but we are hoping for good weather. We have set some interesting pin positions and we are looking forward to good competition,” he concluded.

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