Diego Azar and Sophie Anand won their divisions and Team Bahamas settled for third place overall as play in the 32nd Annual Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships (CAJGC) wrapped up on Friday afternoon at the Albany Golf Course, Albany resort.
The coveted Hank James Trophy, given to the best team, was won by Puerto Rico. After being tied with Jamaica after the second round, Puerto Rico separated themselves from their counterparts in the final round, winning with a score of 155.
Jamaica held on to finish second with a score of 137. The Bahamas was right on Jamaica’s heels but finished with a total score of 129 for third. The Bahamas improved from last year’s fifth place performance in the Cayman Islands, settling for third this time.
Azar won the 11-13 boys division by seven strokes with a score of six over-par 78 in the third round. His total over the three rounds was 12 over-par 228. He had a three over-par in the first two rounds on Wednesday and Thursday.
On holes seven to 13, Azar was even par on Friday.
He was awarded the Bob Slatter Trophy for winning that division.
“I had quite a big lead going into the last day but it was still tough. The person behind me put up a good fight. It was tough and fun at the same time,” Azar said.
Azar said he had to use a wet towel and drink a lot of water to combat the intense heat on Friday. The junior golfer finished ahead of Puerto Rican Daniel Belrado. They both shot six over-par 78 in the third round, but Belrado finished the tournament with a total sore of 19 over-par 235. Belrado was tied with Azar at the end of the first round. In the second round on Thursday, the Puerto Rican had a rough time on the front nine and shot 10 over-par 82.
Kurt Rivers from the Turks and Caicos finished third with a total score of 28 over-par 244. He shot nine over-par 81 in the third round.
She might have had her worst score of the tournament on Friday, a three over-par 75, but young Sophie Anand finished atop the 15-and-under division. Her total score was two over-par 218.
“I just always thought I was behind the player and I just kept trying to make all the putts that I can and play my best,” she said.
She hit a birdie on hole number 10. She said she is familiar with the course, having played there on a regular basis. According to her, that helped with her play because she knew the greens pace and where to leave the ball.
Anand shot a blistering three under-par 69 in the first round to take the early lead. She maintained that lead in the second round on Thursday as she shot an even par 72.
Her reward for capturing that division was the Kenneth Francis Trophy.
Finishing behind her by six total strokes was Jamaica’s Emily Mayne. The Jamaican finished the third round with a score of eight over-par 80. She shot an even-par in the first two rounds to stay close to Anand. In the end she was unable to shoot a better game in the final round. Her total score was eight over-par 224.
Puerto Rico’s Darianys Guzman saved her best for last, shooting a tournament best four under-par 68 on Friday to jump up one spot to finish third. She had four birdies with no bogeys or higher.
She finished with a total score of 11 over-par 227.
The other Bahamian in this group was Kyndall Campbell. Campbell had her best day on the final day with a score of 15 over-par 87. Her total score was 56 over-par 272.
The John Fitzgerald Trophy was won by Puerto Rico’s Camila Negroni for her victory in the 11-13 girls division. She won by 31 strokes. Negroni scored five over-par 77 in the third round to leave her stamp at the tournament. She ended with a total score of 23 over-par 239.
Second place was captured by Mattea Issa from Jamaica. After the second round, Negroni separated herself from the field. Issa finished the competition 54 over-par 270. She shot 14 over-par 86 on Friday to secure second place.
Issa’s teammate, Winni Lau, finished two strokes behind her with a total score of 56 over-par 272 to round out the top three. Lau scored 23 over-par 95 in round three on Friday.
Representing The Bahamas in that age category was Tyesha Tynes. Her total score was 65 over-par 281 after scoring 23 over-par on Friday.
Puerto Rico’s Gustavo Rangel Badillo saved his best game for the third round when he scored two under-par 70 in the 15-and-under boys division. Badillo went ahead of Justin Hastings of the Cayman Islands who was the leader heading into the final day.
With that win, Badillo won the Arturo Pellerano Trophy.
In the third round, Badillo had a great front nine that included one eagle and four birdies. He played it safe on the back nine.
Badillo’s total score was eight over-par 224.
Two strokes behind him was Hastings with a total score of 10 over-par 226. After a three-stroke lead heading into the third round, Hastings had a tough time on the course on Friday. He shot three over-par 75.
Third place was captured by Jamaica’s Rocco Lopez whose total score was 21 over-par 237.
The Bahamas had three competitors in this age category – Heathcliffe Kane, Zion Taylor and Benjamin Knowles.
Kane finished eighth place with a total score of 30 over-par 246. He ended the tournament with a score of 14 over-par 86.
For Taylor, he had to settle for the 12th spot. In the final round, he shot 13 over-par 85 to finish with a total score of 44 over-par 85.
Knowles finished 15th place out of 17 golfers. He finished with a total score of 58 over-par 274. He had his most difficult round in the third round when he scored 28 over-par 100.
Barbados’ Emily Odwin walked away with the Cesar Rivera Trophy after she was the top golfer in the 18-and-under girls division. It was not a great day for her in the final round after she shot eight over-par 80. However, she had a good lead going into the third round and she held on to win the trophy. Her final score was 15 over-par 231.
Second place was captured by Hannah Foster from Jamaica. Her total score was 21 over-par 237. She scored 11 over-par in the third round.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Yeji Lee walked away with third place after her final score was 23 over-par 239. Lee’s final round score was eight over-par 80.
The Bahamas was represented by Ashley Michel and Haylie Turnquest in that division. They finished fourth and fifth respectively. Michel’s final score was 36 over-par 252 after scoring nine over-par 81 in the final round. Turnquest’s final score was 39 over-par 255. Her final round score was seven over-par 89.
The competition was fierce in the 18-and-under boys division between Jamaica’s Justin Burrowes and Puerto Rico’s Andres Aranguren. Burrowes held on to win that division with a total score of two under-par 214. In the final round he shot one under-par 71, a score he had in the second round.
He took the James Moss-Solomon Trophy back to Jamaica for winning that age category.
Aranguren shot an even-par 72 on Friday and he held on to finish second. His total score was one over-par 217.
Aaron Jarvis from the Cayman Islands was third with a total score of four over-par 220. His final round score was one over-par 73.
Saketh Hedge and Dominic Greives represented The Bahamas in that age category. Hedge finished tied for ninth place with Jamaica’s Serbert Walker Jr. Their total score was 27 over-par 243. Hedge finished the final round with a score of nine over-par 81.
Greives finished in the 15th position despite having his best round on Friday, 24 over-par 96. His total score was 106 over-par 322.
The manager and head coach for Team Bahamas was Alena Hutcheson. She was assisted by Inecia Rolle and Cameron Riley.
The countries that participated were Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the host nation, The Bahamas.
The CAJGC was presented by the Caribbean Golf Association (CGA) and was hosted by the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF) in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Sports Tourism Department of the Ministry of Tourism.