Former West Indies captain Brian Lara is expected to be among the golfers on show when the Trinidad and Tobago Golf Association’s (TTGA) 2012 season tees off with the two-day TATIL Open Invitational, at St Andrew’s Golf Course in Moka, Maraval on January 18 and 19.
At the TTGA’s head office in Moka, yesterday, TTGA tournament director Christopher Harries said he is expecting a keen contest.
Last year’s male champion, top junior Sachin Kumar will not defend his title this year because of his scholastic commitments in the USA. However, female champion Christina Ferreira will be seeking a hat-trick of titles when the event tees off at 7.50 a.m. on January 18. She is expected to be pushed all the way by Ysabelle Lawrence.
“Those (Ferreira and Lawrence) are the two outstanding players that we have right now in Trinidad and Tobago. And this should go right down to the wire; at least I am hoping so,” Harries said. The tournament director added that Lara is looking to help his bid towards selection to the Mid-Amateur Division for the T&T team that will travel to Puerto Rico for the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championship (CAGC).
“Brian (Lara) is looking forward to trying to make the national team and this is one of the counting events towards national team selection.”
Harries said the Super Senior division looks really competitive, with stalwarts Monty Chapman, Tyrone Leung and Arjune Samlal.
“All the competitions are tough. The Senior division will be tough as well. I think competition in all five divisions will be strong.”
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 Championship. 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.
“With Carnival, things got going a little slow this year, but I am confident that we will get close to a fully subscribed tournament (120 golfers),” said Harries. “Trinidadians, being last-minute....we will get a lot more entries this Sunday.”
Harries said the Tatil Open is the lead-off tournament in a hectic six-month period of golf that will culminate with the Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championship and the CAGC.
As for the wet weather, Harries said the course should be able to handle some rain.
“We had to cut down to 27 balls last year because of rain but St Andrews drains very well. I’ll make sure and secure high spots for the greens so if we get a little rain it won’t affect us that much, St Andrew’s is in excellent condition, so I am hoping we don’t get too much rain. I am looking forward to some good scores because the course is in excellent condition.”