Champion Carlsen Leacock was facing a tough task to retain his title in the 2016 Sagicor Barbados Open Golf Championships.
After a full day’s play at Royal Westmoreland on Saturday, Leacock was six shots off the pace with at least five contenders well positioned to make a run for the championship over the final 18 holes on Sunday.
Trinidadian Ross Cabral lead the field
In bright sunshine on the inviting Westmoreland course, Leacock posted 79 as Trinidadian Ross Cabral led the field with one-over-par 73 while former champions Julian Jordan and James Johnson registered two-over 74’s.
Fellow Barbados players Simon Proverbs and Marcus Clarke also shot 74 , one shot ahead of new Barbados cap and lefthander Maurice Forde (75) and two ahead of Dawn Bispham (76).
Jamaican champion Ian Facey and American twin brothers Roland and York Beights all struggled on the Royal Westmoreland course, posting 80’s , while Brian Lara shot 81.
With the first day of the scheduled three-day Championship washed out by rain on Friday, the tournament for top flight players has been turned into a 36-hole event and with four seasoned contenders trailing the young Trinidadian leader by just a stroke , Sunday's final day is expected to be intriguing.
The steady and favoured Johnson is hunting a 13th Barbados Open title while Jordan is seeking a third championship.
The OECS champion, Kimesha Anthony is the favourite
Among the women, defending champion Leiza Munn-Blakeley, a former Jamaica player, will also have to make up ground to stave off Antigua and OECS champion, Kimesha Anthony who posted 77 yesterday.
Munn-Blakeley (gross 81) was four shots behind Anthony and two behind national junior Alyssa Inniss-Gittens who forced her way into contention with a seven-over 79.
Anthony, a previous winner of the Barbados Open and the Trinidad Open, is a talented golfer who played on the US college circuit and seems well placed to transform her advantage into another championship title.
Veteran Bill Weir dominate Men's seniors division
Veteran Bill Weir, moving back to the senior men’s division after playing Super-Seniors in recent times, made his presence felt immediately with a three-over-par 75 that left him poised to grab the title.
Weir was five strokes ahead of veteran Barbados player Robert Piggott (80) and Stephen Hall (80) while defending champion Ivan Codrington struggled with a gross 84.
Malcolm Hunt post a strong 77 in the 1st division
In the men’s first flight over at Apes Hill Club, defending champion Malcolm Hunte moved closer to retaining his title as he shot 77 yesterday for a 36-hole gross of 162, ten strokes ahead of second placed Sunil Chatrani (172).
Richie Alleyne leads the super-seniors
Richie Alleyne leads the super-seniors with a two-day gross 168 while Bert Coppin leads the men’s second flight with 73.
Zerina Belgrave is 3 ahead of junior Eryn Blakeley
Stableford points. Zerina Belgrave also leads the women’s first flight with 57 stableford points two ahead of national junior Eryn Blakeley.
The championship flights for both men and women are being played at the Royal Westmoreland course while competition in the men's first flight (players with 10-18 handicaps) and second flight is being played at the Barbados Golf Club and Apes Hill.
The Barbados Open, now in its 33rd year and being sponsored this year by Sagicor, is the biggest tournament on the BGA's calendar and has attracted players from the Caribbean, North America and Europe in seven divisions.
Text and photo credit: Bernard Babb
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