Johnson holds on for Sands Beer Cup
The 2nd Annual Sands Beer Cup, hosted by the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF), wrapped up on Saturday with the Albany Invitational at the Albany Golf Course. Stephen Johnson walked away as the overall cup winner.
Johnson went into Saturday with a four-stroke lead over Kelsey Rolle. Rolle fell from second to third, as Lynford Miller moved up to finish second.
Johnson was the golfer with the most points from the top six rounds. A happy Johnson said he had set a goal to play as many rounds as he could, and did not find out he was in the running for the cup until midway through the series.
“It feels good to come out victorious. I set a goal at the beginning of the year – to play as many rounds as I possibly could and try get better and enjoy the game. I didn’t even find out I was in the running to win this Sands Cup until about midway. At that point I said let me give it a little more focus,” he said.
Johnson said he will be back next year to defend his title and will work on his short game for next year.
“Next year I hope to defend it. I hope to take it again. I will get back at it in January and see what happens in 2019. I need a short game. I can drive and putt the ball. I will get some lessons for the first time and see if I can improve my short game,” Johnson said.
A total of 36 golfers competed in the Albany Invitational.
Rolle didn’t play in this invitational but Johnson and Miller did. Miller said he used that opportunity to slip by Rolle.
“Kelsey didn’t play today and that gave me the opportunity to slip by him. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to catch Johnson, who I was trying to catch. He turned out to be the champion and I am cool with second place,” Miller said.
Johnson had a rough outing on Saturday as he scored a 101 to finish 29-over par. He double bogeyed on four holes including the first three holes, finishing 29th overall on Saturday.
The veteran golfer shot a 58 on the front nine, and got his swing back with a 43 on the back nine. Johnson acknowledged that the course is a difficult one. He said despite an unfavorable score he was glad he got some points.
“The Albany course is not an easy course. It requires accuracy. I knew I needed to play it safe and I said to myself that I may need to leave the big club inside the bag and use a safe club. I had a bad day today but I was able to get some points and hold off the second place finisher who was coming pretty fast. I was able to hold on,” Johnson said.
Miller had a better day, finishing in eighth place with a score of 80, eight-over par. Knowing he had to have a good outing on the day, he had a birdie on the front nine and finished with a 38. On the back nine, Miller had a tougher time as he shot a 42. He had a birdie on hole 15 after double bogeying hole 11. He figured out the course in the middle and started to putt better.
“The course was really nice, the greens was smooth, silky and fast. It was a little too fast for my liking but the other golfers enjoyed it. I figured it out in the middle and started putting better. I just need more time to get more practice in and hope to be crowned champion in many of the tournaments going forward,” Miller said.
Winning the Albany Classic was Oren Butler. Butler shot an even par 72, putting together a good outing on the difficult Albany course.
Butler shot a 38 on the front nine and improved his stroke as he shot an impressive 34 on the back nine. He had an eagle on hole 11, and birdied holes seven, 10 and 15.
Finishing one stroke behind him with a 73 was Kevin Marche. He had a very safe game coming away with four birdies. His front nine score was 37 and his back nine score was 36. He had five bogeys.
Butler’s eagle was the deciding factor between him and Marche. Pablo Nahmias finished third. He was one shot behind Marche. He had three birdies and five bogeys. Nahmias shot a 38 on the front nine, and a 36 on the back nine.
The Sands Beer Cup began in March of this year with the Grand Bahama Open. The Albany Classic was the final event. Golfers played in six tournaments and over 11 rounds on courses in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Exuma.
Executive Sales and Marketing Manager of Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Co. Wellington Seymour said the partnership of Bahamian Brewery and the BGF is one that aims to make golf more accessible to Bahamians. He said that they at Bahamian Brewery would like to continue the partnership.
“Our intent is to make golf accessible to Bahamians. What we have been doing first of all is we have been running a series of events with the BGF. It has been tremendous so far. The golf participants have been very responsive to our brands just by showing up. The BGF’s reputation has been impeccable and they have given our brands some decent exposure. We are happy to be a part of it and we would like to continue to be a part of it,” said Seymour.
Miller, who is also the president of the BGF, said Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Co. and its owner James ‘Jimmy’ Sands has been a great sponsor. He thanked them for their support.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism