By Bernard Babb
The perennial golfing champion grabbed his 14th Barbados Open title yesterday (Sunday), shrugging off a challenge from fellow Barbados player Simon Proverbs at the Royal Westmoreland course.
Johnson emerged winner of the 2017 Sagicor Barbados Open by 11 strokes, posting an impressive six-under-par 66 on the third and final day, for a three-day gross 213 while Proverbs finished second with a gross 224. Third was 15 year-old Barbados player Xzavier Wiggins (gross 232) and fourth, Trinidadian Jonathan Millien (233).
“I was a little off my game on the first two days but everything came together today (Sunday) . I was definitely more focussed and after some early birdies I was more and more confident,” said Johnson, also the Barbados national captain.
After the first two days of competitive golf, in the Sagicor sponsored tournament which is regarded as the island’s national championships , the 24 –year-old Proverbs held a slim one-stroke lead over the defending champion and needed to play his best golf over the final 18 holes to stave him off.
It proved difficult for Proverbs inspite of a fighting one-over-par 37 on the front nine . The defending champion was clearly in high gear and landed six birdies in a commanding display on the front, while posting a five-under 31. Thereafter he added another two on the back nine , in posting 35, and closed out with a par to add yet another Open title to his collection.
16-year-old Alyssa Inniss-Gittens capture her first Barbados Open title.
Among the women, it was also a day of jubilation for 16-year-old Alyssa Inniss-Gittens who led from start to finish to capture her first Barbados Open title.
Leading by six strokes after an impressive 74 on the first day, and a wobble on the second day when she posted 80, the Barbados senior team representative rebounded with another 74 on the final day that secured her first major championship.
Inniss-Gittens started slowly, with bogeys on the first two holes, but recovered and played more confidently on the last nine after earlier dropping two strokes to fellow Barbados player and rival Emily Odwin. From a three-over-par 39 on the front, Inniss-Gittens shot an one-under 35 on the back and registered a gross 228 over the 54-holes of the tournament.
That was ten strokes ahead of Odwin, who was second on 238 after a 78 on Sunday. Defending champion Kimesha Anthony of Antigua appeared out of sorts over the three days and struggled throughout. She posted 92 on the final day, for a gross 255.
“It is a great feeling to win the Open. With a lead of six strokes, I always thought I could win and after a little struggle on the front my chipping and putting came together and I was able to get my first Open title,” said Inniss-Gittens.
Piggott stumbled on the final hole, as he lost his ball in trying to find the green on the par-4 No.18, and this proved to be decisive in determining the championship.
The 2017 Sagicor Barbados Open was the 34th edition of the annual Open tournament organised by the Barbados Golf Association and players from Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Canada, Antigua , St. Kitts and host country Barbados took part in the tournament.