Sports Spotlight: St. Croix Golfers Win Eastern Caribbean Championship

Kevin Ferris lines up a putt on the final hole. If he made, he'd have won the tournament. His missed, and took second.Kevin Ferris appeared to have a lock on the men’s top spot in the Eastern Caribbean Golf Association Championships at Carambola Golf Club after nine holes Sunday. He had the best score on Saturday and was four strokes ahead of his nearest competitor.

Then the course and the rules turned against him.

“Andrian finished strong; I finished weak,” he acknowledged after, on the final hole, Andrian Norford of St. Kitts bogied, but Ferris shot a double bogey, leaving them tied.

Both golfers shot 150 for the two-day event, and many spectators expected a playoff. But the rules of this tournament state that, in case of a tie, whoever has the best score the last day wins. Norford was declared the winner. He had hit 75s both days. Ferris had a 74 and a 76.

A lot was going on at the tournament, however, besides determining the top individual male player in the Caribbean. The annual tournament is seen more as a tournament between island teams. Golf teams from Anguilla, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and St. Thomas competed.

And when all categories were combined this year, the team on top was St. Croix. St. Croix gave a strong showing in the Super Senior category with Doug Menzies and Richard Van Heckmen coming out on top there. The men’s team for St. Croix, which came in third included, Ferris, Bobby Peets, Dave Josselyn and Donald Bough.

12-year-old golfer Demar James from Antigua was a highlight of the tournament.St. Croix’s Women’s team, which consisted of Diane Burns, Mae Menzies and Rikki Nelthroppe, came in second in their category.

A highlight of the tournament was the play of Demar James. The 12-year-old was in fourth place in the men’s division at the end of the first day and finished the tournament in fifth place. The striking young man from Antigua attends sixth grade. He has dreams of playing on the PGA tour someday.

Norford also has those dreams. He said he once missed qualifying for the Masters by two strokes. Ferris, on the other hand, said that for the present he was content with his amateur status.

Ho-You-Fat Kenya won the women’s category with rounds of 78 and 79. St. Croix’s Menzies came in second with rounds of 88 and 86.

St. Thomas’s Women’s team came in third. Its players included Gladys Gumbs, Julie Capronie and Marie Prendergast. St. Thomas men’s came in fifth and included Conrad Stancliff, Edwin Hansen, Nils Hahnfeld and Trevor Levine. Overall totals for the St. Thomas team put it in fifth place.

Finishing second overall to St. Croix was Guadeloupe and third was St. Kitts.

A golfer drives one over the water.The weekend’s event was the first time in more than a decade the St. Croix Golf Association hosted the tournament. Usually it attracts more than 100 individuals, but because weather – notably the passage of Hurricane Matthews a few days earlier – caused some cancellations of fights and other reasons, the field was only 84 strong.

The course appeared to be in pristine shape. Men’s winner Norfold said, “It played difficult. The greens were hard to read. You see the break. You putt and it breaks the other way.”

At a ceremony Friday evening Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter hit the opening drive. He said he wished all the teams good luck but he was “hoping for a St. Croix win.”

Last year, the team from St. Kitts won the tournament at Mullet Bay Golf Course, St. Maarten. Martinique came in second. The St. Thomas Super Seniors team took home honors for the low gross in that category.

Next year’s tournament will be held at the Cuisinart Resort Golf Club, Anguilla.

All the scores can be found at http://golf.grimcode.com/. 

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