Wednesday 22nd June, 2005

 

Par for the course

By Neil Giuseppi

 
 
 
 
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Stephen Ames of T&T bow to playing partner Geoff Ogilvy after Ogilvy chipped in on the second hole during third round play in the 105th US Open Championship on Saturday. T&T’s most famous golfer was among the chosen few competing in the US Open last week.

Par for the course

BY NEIL GIUSEPPI

Come August 10, the annual Caribbean Championships will get underway in the island of St. Kitts. Last week, at the end of four days of trials at the St. Andrew’s Golf Course, the national selectors announced the teams that will represent T&T at the tournament.

Having followed the trials with interest, I am convinced that the team selected to represent this country in the Hoerman Cup is the strongest one that T&T has been able to muster for many a year. Over the last several years, there have been Hoerman Cup teams with individuals who may have been better than players on the current team.

In the 1980s for example, Stephen Ames and Chris Richards were the shining stars. In the 1990s came the era of Robert Ames and Damian Hale. However, I do not believe that in any of those years, we were able to put together as strong a combination as we have done this year.

This year, the team comprises the veteran Carlos ‘Sexy’ Baynes and the brilliant youngsters, Simon Merry, Ben Martin, Shane Costelloe and Mitchum Jasper Jr.

Baynes, who over the years has been as steady as the Rock of Gibraltar, will be the foundation around which any success will be built. Simon Merry and Ben Martin are undoubtedly the stars of the future and I honestly believe that they both have the potential to take T&T and Caribbean golf to the heights only previously attained by Stephen Ames.

Shane Costelloe and Mitchum Jasper are also extraordinarily talented. Jasper has matured nicely and has apparently cured his previous tendency to be erratic at the best of times.

He is also an exceptionally long hitter of the golf ball, an asset which can make the game considerably easier once length is combined with accuracy. And I believe he has now developed the art of matching the two.

If any criticism can be made of the team, it would be that it is somewhat lacking in experience. I am not privy to the discussions the selectors had when naming the team nor am I aware of all the criteria used in arriving at the final five. Had the selection been up to me, however, I may have opted for the defending T&T Open champion, Dion Gonsalves, instead of Jasper. My choice would not have been because I didn’t think that Jasper was up to the task. He certainly is but I feel the team would have been better balanced with two seasoned players in Baynes and Gonsalves to guide the brilliance of Merry, Martin and Costelloe as they went into battle in the toughest competition in Caribbean golf.

I had the pleasure of managing the national team at the Caribbean Championships in Barbados in 2001, a team of which Gonsalves was an integral part and of which, apart from his golfing talent, he proved himself to be a great team player and a tremendous asset to the overall squad.

But I respect the decision of the selectors and I believe it speaks volumes about the current quality and depth of T&T golf when a player of the calibre of Dion Gonsalves cannot make it into a national team.

I must admit that I was blown away by the performances of Merry and Martin at the trials. At times, we merely look at the scores these players shoot and take them for granted, forgetting that Merry is a mere 18 and Ben Martin only turned 15 on Father’s Day, June 19.

But, playing in the national trials, off the championship tees, Simon Merry shot 68, 73, 72, 68 for a four-day total of seven (7) under par while Ben Martin posted scores of 72, 71, 71, 69. His four-day total was five (5) under par. They beat Carlos Baynes by 17 and 15 shots respectively. Remarkable!

Concerning the other teams who will represent T&T at the Caribbean Championships, Ray Roberts was an obvious choice for the Seniors as was Pat Suraj for the Super Seniors. Both were excused from the trials for different reasons but no one could question the fact that they are the best players in their categories by far and more than deserve their selections.

Barry Ferdinand will partner Roberts in the Seniors while Ashraph Ali will be paired with Pat Suraj.

The Mid-Amateurs team will comprise Nazim Haniff and Arjoon Samlal while the Ladies team will be Tracey Clarke, Diana Torry and Martine De Gannes.

There’s a lot of hard work ahead for all the players between now and the start of the championships, but Iam convinced that in at least three of the five categories, we have the capability to bring back the hardware.

Now let’s head for the 19th Hole.

THE LIGHTER SIDE OF GOLF

One Saturday morning, Ben and Harry were playing their usual round of golf. They were being constantly held up by an elderly couple playing in front of them.

After being frustrated for five or six holes, Ben approached the couple and asked them if they could either speed up their play or allow him and Harry to play through.

The 70 year old golfer snapped at Ben, ‘Let me tell you, young fellow, that I was playing this game before you were born.’

‘I have no doubt,’ said Ben, ‘but would you mind

trying to finish it before I die?’

Trinidad & Tobago National Golf Team for the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships in St. Kitts

August 7-13, 2005

(Names appear in Alphabetical Order)

Hoerman Cup

Carlos Baynes

Shane Costelloe

Mitchum Jasper Jr.

Ben Martin

Simon Merry

Reserve

Corey Hamel-Smith

Super Seniors Â

— Higgs & Higgs Trophy

Asraph Ali

Pat Suraj

Reserve

Raj Rampersad

Seniors — Francis & Steel Perkins Trophy

Barry Ferdinand

Ray Roberts

Reserve

Arjoon Samlal

Mid Amateur — Ramon Baez Trophy

Nazim Haniff

Arjoon Samlal

Reserve

Fitzroy Collins

Ladies — George Teale Trophy

Tracey Clarke

Martine de Gannes

Diana Torry

Reserve

Victoria SeenathTOURNAMENT RESULTS

The Brechin Castle Golf Club held its Monthly Medal tournament on Sunday, June 5.

Here are the results:

Player Gross Net

1st Ashton Mills 92 64

2nd Ritoo Manbodh 73 68

3rd Bhoola Laggan 76 69

Best Gross — Reynold Deonath

Closest the Pin (2nd Hole) — Glen Shah

Closest the Pin (18th Hole)- Bhoola Laggan

Meanwhile, the Pointe-a-Pierre Golf Club held its Monthly Medal tournament for June on Saturday 11.

Results

Flight 1

1st Farouk Ali 69

2nd Richard Nagaur 70

3rd Ian Mohammed 70

Best Gross — Rolly Davis 79

Flight 2

1st Reynold Mohess 66

2nd Raeshaad Long 70

3rd Emmanuel Bhola 71

Best Gross — Kelvin Bridgelalsing 86

Flight 3

1st Ramdai Mohamed 70

2nd Davanand Dass 71

3rd Zaid Khan 73

Best Gross - Ashton Wharwood 92

©2004-2005 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

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