TEF donates 93 million to golf

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published on January 18, 2017

Godfrey Dyer reveals that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has contributed over 93 million Jamaican dollars to develop and sponsor golf in Jamaica over the past two years.

Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Godfrey Dyer, is pleased with the outcome of the Jamaica Open golf tournament (Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Godfrey Dyer, is pleased with the outcome of the Jamaica Open golf tournament
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Godfrey Dyer, the chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), revealed at the 2017 Jamaica Open golf tournament at the Half Moon Golf Club that the TEF has contributed 93 million Jamaican dollars over the past two years to the development and sponsorship of golf in Jamaica.

In an exclusive interview with ZFLS, Dyer claimed that individuals have alluded in the past that the TEF has not paid enough attention to the sponsorship of golf. However, he mentioned that in the past 24 months, the TEF has assisted with the improvement of several golf courses across the island and the sponsorship of the 2017 Jamaica Open golf tournament.

He indicated that the TEF has provided specific assistance to upgrade the courses at the Caymanas Golf & Country Club, the Constant Spring Golf Club and the Manchester Club. In addition, he underlined TEF’s role as a platinum sponsor of the 2017 Jamaica Open golf tournament, which concluded with Englishman Paul Eales securing the title by one shot.

“We are serious about helping,” Dyer reiterated.

The 2017 Jamaica Open golf champion, Paul Eales hoists the sterling silver championship trophy after winning the 50th staging of the tournament by one shot over the 1993 champion Tom Gillis.
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Dyer also revealed his burning desire to witness international golf return to Jamaica’s shores, similar to the Johnnie Walker World Golf Championship, which was last played in Jamaica in 1995.

“I certainly would love to see a Johnnie-Walker-type thing come back to Jamaica and if that does, we (the TEF) certainly would be a great participant with respect to sponsorship.”

Stressing the importance of the synergistic relationship between golf and the tourism industry, which was clearly on display at the 2017 Jamaica Open, Dyer stated, “I think it’s a great thing. It is a great thing. I would love to see more of these things happen.”

Quoting the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett in part of his interview, Dyer detailed, “My Minister always says ‘anything that brings more heads to bed,’ and when you bring (the) golfers’ heads to bed, the spend is higher. So, we like that and we will always support (golf).”

Kenny Goodykoontz tees off at the Jamaica Open golf tournament held at the Half Moon Golf Course on Saturday January 14, 2017. (Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Kenny Goodykoontz tees off at the Jamaica Open golf tournament held at the Half Moon Golf Course on Saturday, January 14, 2017.
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Dyer professed his newfound love for golf and the Jamaican Open tournament, “I only saw the last hour of it and I loved it! I was lucky to see the last shot that (won the tournament).”

He remarked that the Jamaican Open comes at the right time for the industry when occupancy is usually lower than other periods of the year. “It’s filling a great gap,” he declared.

When pressed if the TEF will be on board next year to sponsor the 2018 Jamaica Open, Dyer curtailed offering any guarantees. However, he simply stated that if the TEF was approached, “we would look at (it) very seriously.”

The Jamaica Golf Association held its 50th edition of the Jamaica Open golf tournament at the Half Moon Golf Club on January 12-14, 2017. The Tourism Enhancement Fund was one of the two platinum sponsors.

© Zaheer Clarke

This blog article was republished in the Western Mirror on January 25, 2017. 

UK’s Paul Eales narrowly wins the Jamaican Open

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published on January 16, 2017

The 2017 Jamaica Open golf champion, Paul Eales hoists the sterling silver championship trophy after winning the 50th staging of the tournament by one shot over the 1993 champion Tom Gillis (Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

The 2017 Jamaica Open golf champion, Paul Eales hoists the sterling silver championship trophy after winning the 50th staging of the tournament by one shot over the 1993 champion Tom Gillis
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

In an exciting finish, United Kingdom’s Paul Eales won the 50th staging of Jamaica Open golf tournament by one-shot at the Half Moon Golf Course last Saturday.

Despite scoring a three over par 75 on the final day, Eales held off the persistent challenge of 1993 Jamaica Open champion Tom Gillis as the tournament went down to the last hole of the 54-hole golf tournament.

1993 Jamaica Open champion Tom Gillis narrowly misses out on another title at the 2017 Jamaica Open. He lost the title to Paul Eales of the United Kingdom by one-shot (Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

1993 Jamaica Open champion Tom Gillis narrowly misses out on another title at the 2017 Jamaica Open. He lost the title to Paul Eales of the United Kingdom by one-shot.
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Eales, who shot a four under par 68 on day one and an even par 72 on day two, led the tournament wire-to-wire to capture his first Jamaica Open title.

With a one-shot lead over American James Hazen after round one, Eales extended his lead to four shots over the American trio of John Bloomfield, Kenny Goodykoontz and eventually runner-up Gillis by the end of day two.

Eventual joint-third place finisher, Kenny Goodykoontz tees off at hole number one in the final round of the Jamaica Open golf tournament held at the Half Moon Golf Course on Saturday January 14, 2017. (Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Eventual joint-third place finisher, Kenny Goodykoontz tees off at hole number one in the final round of the Jamaica Open golf tournament held at the Half Moon Golf Course on Saturday, January 14, 2017.
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

The last group on the final day featured Eales, Gillis and Kenny Goodykoontz, with Gillis storming to a share of the lead with Eales by the seventh hole. However, double bogeys on the ninth and fifteenth holes twice stymied Gillis surge and gave Eales what should have been comfortable three-shot leads to coast home and win the tournament. When Gillis birdied the 16th and Eales scratched a bogey on the 17th, Eales imposing lead had hurriedly shrunk to a fragile one-shot lead. As both men walked to the 18th tee, the tension rose and the gallery grew with diehard and casual golf fans, players and caddies, all expecting a glorious end to the 50th Jamaica Open. Fittingly, the final round drama had prolonged to the 18th and last hole to decide the champion.

Both Eales and Gillis hit second shots on the par-four 18th green, which found the right and left bunkers respectively. Gillis desperately needed a birdie out of the left sand trap to ante up the pressure on Gillis. Gillis’s third shot from the left sand trap came within three feet of the hole, leaving him a relatively easy par putt. However, Eales produced his most sublime shot for last; hitting a chip out of the right sand trap that slowly crawled within a foot of the hole for an easy tap-in for par, and the championship title.

Easton Williams (let), Lennox Aldred (centre) and third-placed amateur Sean Morris (right) are engrossed with the thrilling action in the final group on the 18¬th green at the 2017 Jamaica Open golf tournament at the Half Moon Golf Course on Saturday, January 14, 2017. (Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Easton Williams (let), Lennox Aldred (centre) and third-placed amateur Sean Morris (right) are engrossed with the thrilling action in the final group on the 18¬th green at the 2017 Jamaica Open golf tournament at the Half Moon Golf Course on Saturday, January 14, 2017.
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

When asked about Gillis’s unrelenting challenge in the final round, Eales remarked, “Tom, he is never going to go away. It was just the question of hanging on. I was shipping a bit of oil, but we managed to get the job done.”

As he walked off the 18th hole, Eales showered spontaneous praise on the organisers and the hospitality of the Jamaican people. He added further heartfelt commendations on the quality of the golf course.

“The golf course has been the winner this week. We’ve had a strong wind but I’m the only guy to shoot under par. So that’s testimony to how great this golf course is and everyone in Jamaica should be proud of it”, Eales remarked.

Owen Samuda (left) collects his cheque and trophy as the top-finisher amateur at the 2017 Jamaica Open held at the the Half Moon Golf Course on Saturday January 14, 2017. (Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Owen Samuda (left) collects his cheque and trophy as the top-finisher amateur at the 2017 Jamaica Open held at the Half Moon Golf Course on Saturday, January 14, 2017.
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Though shooting an eight-over par 80 on the final day, Florida and New Jersey-based Jamaican Owen Samuda copped the amateur title. Samuda led the amateur section of the tournament, like Eales in the pro section,  from start to finish. He carded a three over par 75 on day one of the tournament to lead another Jamaican Oshae Haye by three shots. However, all the talk on day one was about Haye’s miraculous shot on the par-3 14th hole, which gave him the tournament’s sole hole-in-one. By the end of day two, which saw winds gusting at approximately 30 miles per hour, Samuda amazingly extended his lead to an imperious seven shots with a six over par 78 in howling conditions.

In an interview with the ZFLS, Samuda declared, “The golf course was very tough – very, very, very tough. Everyone had their troubles on it, but you had to stay focused and keep going until the day was over.”

Jamaica's number one local-based amateur, Sean Morris sinks this two-foot putt to finish third among the amateurs after hitting a beautiful chip shot 70 yards out on the 18th hole during the 2017 Jamaica Open golf tournament. (Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Jamaica’s number one local-based amateur, Sean Morris sinks this two-foot putt to finish third among the amateurs after hitting a beautiful chip shot 70 yards out on the 18th hole during the 2017 Jamaica Open golf tournament.
(Photo: Zaheer E. Clarke)

Haye and Sean Morris ended up second and third respectively behind Samuda, with both shooting 74, the low round of the final day among the amateurs.

Morris, Jamaica’s number one local-based amateur, who is optimistic of going pro on the senior PGA or European tours this year, declared, “Today was the best of all three days.”

In all aspects, it was.

© Zaheer Clarke

Cricket returns to Trelawny Stadium

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published January 16, 2017

The Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium hosted warm-up matches and the opening ceremony of the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup. Thereafter, it hosted its first international matches, two ODI games in 2016 between West Indies Women and England Women.

The Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium hosted warm-up matches and the opening ceremony of the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup. Thereafter, it hosted its first set of international matches in 2016, two ODI games between West Indies Women and England Women.

 

The Pakistan cricket team will be playing a three-day match at the under-utilized Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium on Saturday, April 15, 2017.

The three-day match is part of the scheduled 2017 Pakistani tour of the West Indies which comprises two Twenty20 Internationals, three One-Day Internationals and three Test matches.

The series will commence on March 31 with the first of two T20Is at West Indies’s largest capacity cricket ground, Queens Park Oval, in carnival crazy Trinidad. The second T20I will be held two days later on April 2.

Jason Holder (M) of the West Indies takes the wicket of Younis Khan of Pakistan on day three of the third test between Pakistan and West Indies at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on November 1, 2016 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Whiteoak/Getty Images)

Jason Holder (M) of the West Indies takes the wicket of Younis Khan of Pakistan on day three of the third test between Pakistan and West Indies at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on November 1, 2016, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
(Photo by Chris Whiteoak/Getty Images)

Providence Stadium, Guyana’s national stadium, will be next on the itinerary and will host three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) on April 7, 9 and 11.

The three-day match in Trelawny on April 15th will be followed by three Test matches, with the first at Sabina Park on April 22. The second match will move to the home of cricket in the Caribbean, Kensington Oval, in Barbados on April 30. Dominica will host the final match of the series, the third Test match, starting on May 10.

Last October in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan won the T20I series 3-0, the ODI series 3-0 and the Test series 2-1 against The West Indies.

© ZFLS

This blog article was also published in the Western Mirror on January 16, 2017.