Trinidad and Tobago senior golf teams have been getting younger and younger, and T&T Golf Association (TTGA) director of golf Chris Harries feels the current crop need more international exposure to help them get more consistent performances.
In recent years, T&T’s Championship men have struggled to match Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic in particular at the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships, and teenagers are becoming regulars on the team.
This year, at the 57th edition of the competition at Mahogany Run Golf Club in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, T&T had their youngest group for the Men’s Championship team playing for the Hoerman Cup—Matthew Marquez is 17, Talin Rejendranath, 20, Sachin Kumar, 14, Andrei Collins, 19 and Wan Joo Lee, 16.
The T&T Ladies team featured Monifa Sealy, 21, Christina Ferriera, 17, and Ysabelle Lawrence, who turns 16 next week.
T&T finished third overall, and the Championship Men, a commendable fourth, after a poor first day left them ninth and bottom of the standings, four strokes away from their nearest competition.
According to Harries, more funds are needed to give young players the exposure required to improve performances.
“This is the youngest team ever put out by Trinidad and Tobago in the Hoerman Cup team,” Harries remarked yesterday during a press conference at St Andrew’s Golf Club, Moka to welcome the team home.
”The only way they are going to develop is by getting sponsorship to go overseas to play in tournaments, because they are competing against the best… They know all the golf courses here, but they need to get overseas exposure to develop their games and realise that the competition over there is tough.”
Team T&T finished third overall despite a seventh placing in the Francis and Steele-Perkins (Seniors) Cup, where Michael “Jack” Commissiong had to play the four rounds alone after his teammate, Carlos “Sexy” Baynes, failed to make it to St Thomas due to flight issues.
Harries, who was also team manager for the trip, hailed Monifa Sealy, the most experienced golfer on T&T’s ladies’ team, for her contribution. Sealy had the best performance of the ladies in the tournament, securing the low gross.
“Thank God for Monifa Sealy, who continues to support Trinidad and Tobago…” he said. “I asked Monifa, ‘please come along this year and support our younger two golfers and give them some help, how to deal with the pressures and everything’. It’s this sort of support that is needed here.”
The TTGA’s ladies’ coordinator Pauline Raynor was also impressed with the ladies team’s performance.
“The ladies put in a lot of effort. The expression ‘blood, sweat and tears’? I’ve seen the sweat and the tears. Maybe we need a little blood, but they’ve put in a lot of work. They are very passionate,” she said.
Raynor said the TTGA has a thriving ladies programme, but need more young women competing in the sport.
“We desperately need ladies,” Raynor explained, ”especially in a certain age group, because it’s a sport that requires time (for players to develop), and I think this is where it hampers (things) a bit.
“But we do have some coming up, I see some little ones…but we need more players. We really would like them to come.”