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Pure Silk-Bahamas classic opens doors for young golfers

Not only is the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic attracting hundreds of avid golf fans to the gorgeous destination of Paradise Island in The Bahamas, but it is also opening the door to countless opportunities for young Bahamian golfers such as 14-year-old Ashley Michel. Michel got an opportunity of a lifetime when she teed off at the pro-am competition in the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Challenge.

The competition, which was held on Wednesday, is an opportunity for amateurs to play with tour players and the occasional celebrity to compete in a best-ball fivesome. While the competition may have served as a friendly game to some, to others such as Michel, it’s a step into one-day hopefully competing in the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.

Michel said her next goal is to be a full participant, next year.

“Since it was my first year, I didn’t expect much. I was just trying out for the qualifiers and even though I didn’t make it, I’m happy with what I did. It’s not easy to go out there and do something perfectly, one shot,” she said.

Michel is also thankful to be able to emulate the professional players and use it to perfect her golfing game.

“It’s good to be here and meet new people who eventually turn into role models. Competitions such as this show young players the competitive edge they need to compete,” she said. “We as junior players come in and we meet everyone who has been working and playing for years, seeing them work so hard and fight for what they have. I just wish to be there some time. I pray the next day, it’ll be me.”

This year, the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) tournament hosted two kids clinics in an effort to inspire young Bahamians. This past Saturday, Bahamian professional golfer Georgette Rolle and LPGA golfers Casey Grice and Regina Plasencia led the Bahamas Golf Federation’s (BGF) Junior Clinic at the Baillou Hills Driving Range. On Tuesday, LPGA players Ally McDonald and Paula Reto greeted more than 60 boys and girls for the annual RBC Junior Clinic held on the driving range at the Ocean Club Golf Course.

This is the fifth time that the first leg of the LPGA season has been held in The Bahamas and the Deputy Director General of The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism, Ellison “Tommy” Thompson believes that events of this nature are great for The Bahamas.

“We have the opportunity to showcase the islands of The Bahamas to the world and the benefit is the fact that 600 people are here to this event,” he said.

President of the Bahamas Golf Federation Glenn Archer said the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic presented opportunities not only to the country but to golfing in The Bahamas.

“It is an event like this, that has inspired golf and the growth of the game here in The Bahamas. It’s really a memorable event and gave an opportunity and inspired the young people of this community for the future,” he said.

The official tournament got underway yesterday, and will run through January 29 with free admission and free parking. American Brittany Lincicome took the early lead, shooting a record nine-under par 64 opening round. A total of 108 female golfers from around the world are teeing off at the beautiful One&Only Ocean Club Golf Course for the first leg of the LPGA season.

The Pure Silk Bahamas-LPGA Classic is sponsored by 35 organizations including Aliv, The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism, John Bull and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).

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