A reconfigured course will greet participants at this year's 49th staging of the Jamaica Open Golf Championship at Half Moon golf course in Rose Hall St James from November 28 to December 1.
The hosts and title sponsors yesterday donated US$70,000 towards prize money for the 54-hole strokeplay event which carries a purse of US$85,000 at a press launch at Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
Half Moon's director of golf Spencer Edwards told the Jamaica Observer the course has been switched around and consequently, he expects a more level playing field for the competitors.
"It seemed to make sense and I'm sure when we see the tournament unfold this year it will work a lot better for everybody," Edwards said.
"It may play a little easier, certainly for the golfer who plays early morning. We had a run of the course of the first eight holes and played into the wind."
This is the eighth year Half Moon has staged the event and the fifth consecutive time since 2007, and Edwards explained his company's association with the premier local tournament.
"Fortunately for us, Half Moon owners are all keen golfers, so when Wayne Chai Chong approached (them), they embraced it and as keen golfers they really wanted to make it something special and it's grown into being that," Edwards stated, adding that the entries were oversubscribed last year.
The event will be open to 80 professionals and 31 amateurs with a 7.0 handicap.
The winner of the event will pocked US$16,000 and Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) president Wayne Chai Chong said already 40 players from Canada, United States, Israel, Colombia, Jamaica and the Caribbean had expressed an interest.
Among those expected for the three-day competition, starting on Thursday, November 29 are 2011 US Open Senior Champion Olin Browne; three-time PGA tour winner Gary Hallberg; past winner Jim Thorpe; 2011 Senior British Open champion Russ Cochran and winner of the 2011 Panasonic Golf Classic, Peter Horrobin.
This year's Jamaica Open is part of the official line-up of activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's Independence from Great Britain.