By Bernard Babb
Barbados player Simon Proverbs emerged the early leader, posting a 1-under-par 71 yesterday, on the first day of the 2017 Sagicor Barbados Open Golf Championships at Royal Westmoreland.
Playing in the championship flight (0-9 handicaps), Proverbs carded four birdies enroute to a one-stroke lead over defending champion James Johnson who shot 72 on a sunny day.
It was the kind of start the 24 year-old Proverbs was seeking after he fired warning shots in the lead-up to the Barbados Open, registering 68 in a warm-up tournament at the Barbados Golf Club.
"It was a fairly good round today ... I will be seeking to maintain and extend the lead on the second day," said Proverbs.
Fellow Barbados players Xzavier Wiggins , Carlsen Leacock and Dawn Bishpham all shot 76 and were four strokes off the pace , and seeking to challenge the leaders on the second day, while Trinidadian Johnathan Millien posted 77.
Among the women, Barbados player Alyssa Inniss-Gittens registered an impressive two-over-par 74 to take a seven-stroke lead in that division and was followed by fellow national player Emily Odwin (gross 81) and defending champion Kimesha Anthony (82) of Antigua.
The 16 year-old Inniss-Gittens registered scores of 38 on the front and 36 (even par) on the back and will be seeking to consolidate her position on the second day.
Predictably, the Seniors division (men over 50 years) is shaping up to be highly competitive as Trinidadian Wayne Baptiste fired an even-par 72, that was six strokes better than defending champion Bill Weir (gross 78) and five ahead of second-placed former champion Robert Piggott (77).
Former BGA President Hadley Byer and Michael Haynes also shot 78 while former West Indies cricketer Desmond Haynes also enjoyed a relatively good first day with 79.
In the men's first flight over at Apes Hill Club, Trinidadian Deryck Chanardip (gross 89) was holding a one-stroke lead over Barbadian Walter Redman (90) while Duncan Shaw took the early lead in the men's second flight with 38 stabbleford points.
Defending champion Richie Alleyne (gross 80) was seeking to stave off his rivals in the Super-Seniors and was three shots ahead of former Barbados player Birchmore Griffith (83) and Robert Cunningham (83).
The 54-hole Sagicor Barbados Open enters its second day, today (Saturday) with men's and women's championship flights, and senior men at Royal Westmoreland, while Super seniors and men's first and second flights are being played at Apes Hill.
Players from Trinidad and Tobago, host country Barbados, Antigua, St. Kitts, the United Kingdom, USA and Canada are contesting the Sagicor Barbados Open championships.