Several of the island's top golfers are still celebrating after an exciting 12th edition of the RBC Golf Classic which was staged last weekend (November 26 and 27) at the Barbados Golf Club.
After 36 holes on a testy Durants course, in brilliant sunshine , players collected their awards and rewards during a ceremony in the club-house on Sunday night- hosted by the sponsors RBC, and tournament organisers, the Barbados Golf Association.
Both RBC vice-President, Wenrick Clarke and BGA President Trevor Tasker thanked the players, officials and BGC staff for a highly successful tournament this year which attracted 116 players.
The operations staff at BGC were also particularly lauded for being able to produce a good course for tournament play after heavy rains leading up to the Classic.
Clarke said the sponsors were happy to partner with the BGA for the Classic, which is a highlight of the local golf calendar, and which allowed local and international golf enthusiasts to match wits and skills over two days.
"It makes us particularly proud to serve such a higher purpose as doing so allows us to create opportunities for our clients beyond our banking halls. For us, success isn’t only measured by the dollar value of a transaction. We seek opportunities to help our clients and communities build a better future," Clarke said.
He disclosed that RBC had a rich history of supporting golf around the world and listed the Canadian Open and the RBC Heritage as two of the globally recognised events .
The RBC executive further related that the company was particularly pleased to partner the BGA in creating the RBC High Performance Award for deserving juniors in Barbados, which will assist with the total development of young players, both on and off the course.
This year the High Performance Award is being jointly shared by Emily Odwin and Alyssa Inniss-Gittens, two teenaged national juniors who finished tied for second place in the women's championship with a gross 175.
Among the top performers in the 2016 RBC Classic were: Men's champion - Carlsen Leacock (gross 155); Women's champion - Julia Stephenson (172); men's first flight winner - Oaziah Layne (157); Women's stableford winner - Eryn Blakeley (70 points); Men's Stableford winner - Alwyn Browne (73 points); Senior Men's Stableford winner - Tony Reece (70 points); Senior men's strokeplay champion - Richard Payne (gross 149); and Super Seniors champion - Ricky Skeete (gross 153).
The next event on the BGA's calendar is the year-ending Presidents Putter at the Royal Westmoreland course on December 11.
By Bernard Babb
Men's first flight champion, 14-year-old Oaziah Layne goes for the green on No.14 after an errant tee-shot.
Fourteen year-old Oaziah Layne won the men's first flight and was presented with his trophy by Meryl Stoute, RBC's Team Leader for Business Banking.
Tony Reece was the winner of the senior men's stableford competition.
Junior national player Xzavier Wiggins hits a tee shot in the RBC Classic.
Men's champion Carlsen Leacock (second left) accepted his trophy and awards from Wenrick Clarke (RBC vice-president), Jillian Nunes (Country Head of Royal Fidelity) and BGA President, Trevor Tasker.
Women's strokeplay champion Julia Stephenson (right) and women's stableford winner Eryn Blakeley (left) accepted their prizes from Deidre Cox , RBC Manager of Private Banking.
The RBC High Performance Award is being shared this year by national junior players Emily Odwin and Alyssa Inniss-Gittens. Making the presentation were Jillian Nunes (left), Country Head of Royal Fidelity Merchant Bank, and Wenrick Clarke , Area Vice-President of Royal Bank.
Men's Stableford winner Alwyn Browne (left) accepted his prize from RBC's branch manager Alford Ashton.
Senior Men's champion Richard Payne (left) and Super-Seniors champion Ricky Skeete were presented with their trophies by Meryl Stoute of sponsors RBC.
Wayne Boucher, who was third in men's stableford play, hits out of the bunker at hole. No.8.
Former Jamaica player Mark Blakeley, hitting off the No.6 tee, finished second in the RBC Classic for the second straight year.
In August, he could not hold on to his Barbados Open title but veteran Barbados player Carlsen Leacock is celebrating as the new champion of the annual RBC Classic, the island’s second biggest golf tournament.
Leacock, 58, followed up his even-par 72 on the first day with a fighting 81 yesterday at the Barbados Golf Club to shake off his rivals and grab the prestigious Classic title. The champion registered a two-day gross 153 while second was former Jamaica player Mark Blakeley (154) and third, Stephen Layne (156).
“I’m happy about the win. When I started the tournament I wanted the gold medal and I got the job done. It was really a struggle for all the players but I managed to hold it together on the back nine and got home,” said Leacock.
On another sunny day, Leacock stumbled on two occasions but clawed his way back in the face of testing play from Blakeley, Layne and 15-year-old Iz Hustler. Layne led the group by two strokes after the first nine holes but dropped those wo strokes at a critical time on the 15th hole, collecting a double bogey, when Leacock charged ahead with birdies at No.15 and No.16. The usually aggressive and shot-making Leacock then cruised his way home with pars on No.17 and No.18.
Fifteen year-old Barbados junior player, Oaziah Layne continued his improvement over the past year as he won the men’s first flight division, (featuring players with 7-14 handicaps) with a two-day gross 157, which was six strokes ahead of Malcolm Hunte (163).
Layne completed the win with a birdie on the 18th hole as he posted 81 yesterday to add to his first day 76 and was also followed by former Barbados badminton champion, Argyle Maynard who was third with a gross 167.
Among the women, long-serving Barbados player Julia Stephenson emerged champion with a 36-hole gross 172, while Barbados juniors Alyssa Inniss-Gittens and Emily Odwin shared the second position with 175. Stephenson posted 85 yesterday to add to her first day score of 87 and Gail Fields was fourth with a gross 177.
Twelve year-old Eryn Blakeley upstaged her older rivals to win the women’s stableford competition as she finished with 70 points, three better than early leader Zerina Belgrave (67 points) and four ahead of Leiana Bynoe (66).
London-based Richard Payne produced an impressive even-par 72 yesterday to lift the Senior men’s division, with a 36-hole gross 149. That was seven strokes better than second-placed Michael Haynes (156) and eight better than Oville Alleyne and Ivan Codrington (157).
Alwin Browne carried off the men's stableford title with 73 points and was followed by John Odle (69) and Wayne Boucher (69).
Veteran Barbados player Ricky Skeete, who switched to the Super Seniors division (60 years and over) in recent times, took the gold medal in that division with a competitive gross 155 while registering 78 yesterday. Second was long-serving coach Denis Foster (157) and third former Barbados tennis champion, Tyone Mapp (165).
The 12th edition of the RBC / Royal Bank Classic attracted 116 players this year and was and was organized by the Barbados Golf Association.
By Bernard Babb
Veteran Barbados player Carlsen Leacock emerged the early leader after the first day of the 2016 RBC Classic
(Forde and Jordan) - Barbados players Maurice Forde (left) and Julian Jordan (right) are among the contenders in the men's championship flight. BGA President Trevor Tasker will compete in the first flight.
Most of the island's national players are among the contenders in this prestigious 36-hole tournament and will be seeking to position themselves to clutch the crystal trophy.
Canada-based Stephen Layne, the 2010 RBC champion, and 2013 champion Dawn Bispham are among those who will be tussling for the championship but will have to produce high quality golf over 36 holes to stave off long-standing Barbados player Julian Jordan (the 2014 Barbados Open champion), former Jamaica player Mark Blakeley , who finished second in the RBC last year, Carlsen Leacock (the 2015 Open champion) , and the improving Maurice Forde, who made an impressive Hoerman Cup debut for Barbados shooting 70’s over three straight days.
Teenager Iz Hustler, who also made his senior debut at the 2016 Hoerman Cup in the Bahamas, and regular Barbados player Simon Proverbs (the 2015 BGC Open champion, as well as veteran Barbados player Elvis Medford and former Barbados cricketer Nolan Clarke are also among the major contenders.
"This is a major tournament staged annually by the BGA and an important one for players seeking to qualify for national selection as well as for those seeking to add points to their international amateur world rankings. We have a good competitive field and we are hoping for good weather over the two days,” said BGA President Trevor Tasker.
Based on their showings in recent tournaments, the Classic is also expected to be another defining event for the island's rising junior players, such as Xzavier Wiggins, Christian Mason and Oaziah Layne who will compete among the men and female juniors Emily Odwin and Alyssa Inniss-Gittens who will compete among more experienced women.
Both Odwin, a winner in the under-13 division at the 2016 Caribbean Junior Championships, and Inniss-Gittens recently participated in the Annika Sorenstam Invitational in Argentina and are expected to make their presence felt among seasoned players Lynn DeCambra-Mcleod, Julia Stephenson and Helen Foster.
Seven divisions are being contested over the two days of play at the Barbados Golf Club and the senior men’s catergory is also shaping to be an interesting battle with consistent veteran Bill Weir, Barbados players Robert Piggott and Orville Alleyne and former West Indies cricketer Desmond Haynes among those teeing up.
Players from Barbados, England and Canada are contesting the 36-hole tournament and have been at practice over the past week, getting used to the challenging conditions and the 16 newly installed paspallum greens, at the Durants course.
RBC is known internationally as a major supporter of golf through their sponsorship of professional players and two prestigious PGA Tour events (The Canadian Open and RBC Heritage) and Royal Bank executives in Barbados said they were proud to continue support for the Classic and will again present the RBC Junior High Performance Award, to a deserving young golfer at the end of the tournament.
The November 26 and 27 tournament is also being co-sponsored by Royal Fidelity Merchant Bank and Trust, who for the third year will be awarding nearest-to-the-pin prizes on all par-3 holes at the Barbados Golf Club.
By Bernard Babb
During a media conference to launch the RBC Classic, BGA President Trevor Tasker (middle) thanked the sponsors for their continued commitment to the Classic and revealed that through the assistance of joint sponsors RBC Royal Bank and Royal Fidelity, the tournament remains a greatly anticipated one among golfers and it had also contributed to the development of the island’s junior players.
The island’s top golfers are going through their paces this week, getting tournament-ready for the 2016 edition of the RBC/ Royal Bank Classic which tees off on Saturday November 26 at the Barbados Golf Club.
This two-day tournament , which concludes Sunday November 27, is rated as the second major on the BGA’s calendar and also coincides this year with sporting events being staged to recognize Barbados’ 50th anniversary of political independence.
Close to 100 players , many of them wearing the national colours of yellow and blue, are expected on the greens and fairways at the BGC where the course is expected to be challenging after extensive upgrade work and the relaying of greens over the past year.
During a media conference to launch the RBC Classic, BGA President Trevor Tasker thanked the sponsors for their continued commitment to the Classic and revealed that through the assistance of joint sponsors RBC Royal Bank and Royal Fidelity, the tournament remains a greatly anticipated one among golfers and it had also contributed to the development of the island’s junior players.
“We are indeed thankful for the unwavering support that RBC Royal Bank and Royal Fidelity have given us. From the inception, The Classic has set a tradition of producing exciting golf and we look forward to keen rivalry again this year. Together we share a wonderful vision for the growth of this tournament …, inclusive of initiatives for the juniors, and the support for the juniors will also continue, ” said Tasker.
Area Vice President for RBC Royal Bank Barbados, Wenrick Clarke told the media conference that RBC had a proud tradition of supporting golf around the world and has maintained significant relationships with the PGA Tour, including sponsoring two prestigious events – the RBC Canadian Open and the RBC Heritage.
Clarke further said that they were proud to support the RBC Classic in Barbados for the 12th year and were committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which they operate. “Assisting youth development gives us the opportunity to support the next generation of golfers and once again this year we will be presenting the RBC High Performance Award to a junior golfer who has done well on and off the golf course,” he said.
Country Head for Royal Fidelity, Jillian Nunes said her company was happy to be associated with the RBC Classic for the third consecutive year and , apart from providing some other incentives, Royal Fidelity will be sponsoring a range of nearest-to-pin prizes over the two days of competition.
The 2015 RBC Classic Champions James Johnson and Helen Foster accepted their awards during last years prize ceremony from Robert deSilva (left), Managing Director of RBC in Barbados, and Cally Boyea (right), Former President of BGA.
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