Wight, Ribbins win maiden titles

Payten Wight and Emily Ribbins each had comfortable wins.

A pair of twenty-somethings stole the show over the weekend to take the men’s and ladies’ titles at the 2018 Cayman Islands Amateur Golf Championship sponsored by TRAC Automotive. Payten Wight and Emily Ribbins won their maiden titles after each posted solid back-to-back rounds at North Sound Golf Club on 24 and 26 March.

Wight, 23, put a marker down on the first day after posting a -3 (68), the only golfer to be under par after the opening round. “I just tried to play the best round I possibly could. I wanted to put myself into a good position going into [the final round],” Wight told CaymanSportsBuzz.com.

At that point, he held a six-stoke lead over the defending champion, Justin Hastings, who was second on the leaderboard at the halfway mark of the competition.

Wight was more conservative with his approach in the second round.

Returning to the course on Sunday, Wight adopted a more conservative approach for the second round. “I wasn’t really going after pins. I just wanted to ensure that I kept the foot on the gas and made sure that I ended today with a good round,” he said.

He was even par (71) for the second round with a two-day total of 139, enough for a comfortable seven-stroke edge over teenager Aaron Jarvis (75,72). Hastings, who won as a 13-year-old last year, was tied for third with Joel Dodson. Hastings shot rounds of 75 and 74, while Dodson hit 77 on day one and lowered his score to 72 on the final day.

“It’s amazing,” Wight said of the honour of taking the championship trophy. “It’s good to be up there with some of the names, especially my dad (Michael Wight) and all those guys. I play with them, so it’s an honour to be the national champion.”

Michael Wight (left) congratulates his son as they complete their final round.

Meantime, Ribbins won the ladies title by nine strokes ahead of the nearest of half-a-dozen other competitors.

The 22-year-old shot 76 on the opening day to take a five-stroke lead over junior golfer Holly Mclean (81). She turned in another good round of 77 for a two-day total of 153.

Mclean matched her opening round score on the second day for a cumulative score of 162 for the next spot on the leaderboard. Last year’s champion, Nitti Howe equaled Ribbins on day two with a 77, a drastic improvement on 89 on day one to finish third with 166.

Emily Ribbins

Ribbins described it as a great weekend for golf, despite the wind picking up a bit. Other than winning, she was glad to be back home and competing.

“I think just being relaxed. I just graduated last year from university and this was the first time that I’ve been able to play in this tournament in the last five years, so just being happy to be home and enjoying playing with the people I’ve been playing with since I’ve been younger,” she said.

With the tournament in the rear view mirror, Wight is looking forward to the 62nd Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships, which are hosted by the Cayman Islands Golf Association in July.

“It’s going to be awesome playing at home. We’re going to have home-field advantage, we’ll have the locals out here supporting us and it’s going to be an awesome event. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

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