Young golfers represent well in Florida

Aaron Jarvis was one of four Cayman golfers with Top 10 finishes.

Ten of the island’s young golfers, ranging in age from seven to 18, took part in the international Doral-Publix Junior Golf Classic at Trump International Doral in Miami, Florida just before Christmas. The tournament comprised 600 golfers from around the world representing 45 countries, including USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France and Spain.

The tournament was organised as part of the First Tee program, which focuses not only on teaching children the game of golf, but also the life skills and values that go with it.  The First Tee has established nine core values that represent some of the many inherently positive values connected with the game of golf – honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment, according to organisers. The entry form required the players to provide evidence not only of their golfing ability, but also their academic performance before they could be considered for a place in the field.

Justin Hastings

Andrew and Aaron Jarvis, Justin and Andrew Hastings, James Bould, Lauren Needham, Holly and Sam McLean, and Danny and Ben Lyne had one practice round to try to get the measure of the courses and then two or three days of competition, played in flights according to age. Both the Boys 16-18 and 14-15 age categories featured a cut after two days, where the top 60 players out of a field of 100-130 qualified to play on the third day.

In the Boys 14-15 Division, both Aaron Jarvis and Justin Hastings comfortably made the cut and maintained their good form in the final round, both achieving a Top-10 finish. Hastings finished tied 8th with a three-day score of 222 (nine over par) and Jarvis finished 10th with a score of 223 (10 over par).  This is impressive performance given the top international quality of the field, with some of the best juniors in the world competing.

The Boys 16-18 division played on the PGA course, The Blue Monster, which was set up with very fast greens and challenging tee shots. Andrew Jarvis finished with a two-day score of 164, missing the cut by four strokes.

Andrew Jarvis.

In the Boys 8-9 category (a nine-hole competition), top honours for day one went to Danny Lyne, who came in with a score of one under par to lead the tournament.  He finished day two in 5th place with a total score of 76 (six over par). His brother, Ben, finished 10th with a score of 29 over par in the seven and under category. In the Boys 10-11 (18-hole competition), Sam McLean finished 53rd with a two-day score of 77 over par.

In the Girls 12-13 Division (18-hole competition), Holly McLean finished 23rd and Lauren Needham finished 28th.  In the Boys 12-13 Division 18-hole competition, James Bould played well and finished 46th with a two-day score of 24 over par, having scored an 80 on the second day, and Andrew Hastings finished 61st with a score of 37 over par.

The Cayman Islands Golf Association in a statement said it was delighted with the juniors’ performances and pleased that they had had the opportunity to gain valuable experience to help them grow both as golfers and as a people.

“It is critically important for the development of our junior golfers to be able challenge themselves on other golf courses playing against the top ranking international opposition in their age groups,” said CIGA President Paul Woodhouse.

“One of the fundamental drivers behind our alliance with the Leadbetter Golf Academy is to prepare them for what is a totally different experience to our local junior events. This will enable them over time not just to participate but to compete at this higher level of international competition. It will be exciting over the next year or so to watch even more of our juniors graduate up to the main men’s and ladies’ national teams,” Woodhouse added.


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