Third BMW Classic tees off today at Cinnamon Hill Golf Course

By Paul A Reid
Observer writer

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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ROSE HALL, St James — The third BMW Jamaica Classic PGA Tour LatinoAmérica event will get under way today at the par-72 Cinnamon Hill Golf Course with 144 players chasing the US$31,500 first prize from a US$175,000 purse, plus Order of Merit points.

Included in the field today will be 13 of the top 20 players on the tour which had five stops prior to this week and the organisers are expecting another exciting four days of golf ending Sunday afternoon.

American Tom Whitney, who leads the Order of Merit, will celebrate his 30th birthday today, and will be playing his second tournament since taking the lead.

Other players in the top 10 who will tee off today include American John Somers, who is number three, Christobal Del Solar of Chile is ranked fourth, followed by Australian Ryan Ruffels at number five, Andres Echavarria of Colombia is sixth and Mito Perreria, also of Chile, is number seven.

Whitney, who has two victories so far, both in Argentina, at the 88th Abierto OSDE del Centro and Cordoba and a top-10 finish at the Buenaventura Classic in Panama, is in good form and has not missed the cut in any of the previous five events and after a practice round on Tuesday, told the PGA LatinoAmerica website he was looking forward to a good week.

“I just played the back-nine and every hole there has a hill and when you go down you have to comeback up and vice-versa. The course seems fun and fair and the greens are looking really smooth and I am looking forward to the week.”

He is not thinking about what he has to shoot to win this week. “There are so many tournaments left to be played and lots of golf to be played and one of the things I have learned is not to chase a number, just play golf and I will go and do the best I can this week and next week and the week after.”

The lay out of the course will prove to be a challenge, however. “It is definitely where you leave it on the greens. There are lots of slopes on the back-nine to where if you have a 15-footer above the hole for birdie you might be sweating over your par put, so as long as you can keep it below the hole you give yourself a chance for success.”

Norway's Andreas Holversen is returning to Cinnamon Hill and said the knowledge of the course could help him. “I got in nine holes and it feels softer than last year; the course is in great shape. Knowing what to expect gives you an advantage,” he concedes, and added: “My putting has improved to the point where I think I will be able to do a little better this year.”

The cut after Friday's second round will be the top 55 players and three Jamaicans and several Caribbean players will be seeking to avoid it, including locals Justin Burrows and Orville Christie; Chris Richards Snr, Ben Martin, Dustin Risdon, Wan Ju Lee and Xavier Wiggins from Trinidad and Tobago; Matthew Marquez, a T&T native who qualified from Barbados' leg of qualifiers.

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