JGA Open gets thumbs upThursday, November 25, 2021
TRYALL, Hanover — Last week's staging of the 54th Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) Open presented by Aqua Bay Resorts has been given a resounding thumbs up by the organisers and sponsors, after three days of top-classed golf at the Tryall Club in Hanover.
The championships, which were held a month earlier than the traditional mid-December schedule, went down to the line with American Michael Maguire beating his compatriot Ryan Sullivan on the first hole of a sudden death play-off in near darkness.
Both men had completed the three-day 54- hole championships tied on eight under par 208 and as per the tournament rules, played the extra hole, the par four first which Maguire, who was playing the event the third time, scored a birdie while Sullivan managed a par.
Jodi Munn-Barrow, the first female president of the JGA and who was presiding over her first Open, said the venture was a success and they were looking forward to returning to Tryall next year.
Heavy rains the previous weekend had caused some concerns for the organisers but thankfully there was better weather last week.
“I think it has been a very good three days of golf, very successful and we have seen some really great golf by the players,” Munn-Barrow told the Jamaica Observer West on the morning of the third day.
“The course played very well considering the weekend before when they got 11 inches of rain and so all in all it has been a very successful event and we are now looking forward to the end.”
Munn-Barrow said they would be looking back at the event to see where they can “tighten things up.”
“I think overall everything worked out well, I am sure that maybe when we sit down in a few days and we go through our review we can pick up on things that we can do better next time, but the response by the pros and amateurs have been very positive so that in itself is quite heartening,” she argued.
Asked whether the event, which has been played at Half Moon's White Witch course as well, would be back at Tryall, the JGA president said “absolutely 100 per cent we will come back...to bring visitors to the Tryall Club on such a championship golf course, very challenging, but yet the staff and management and members have been so welcoming to us, I absolutely hope we can come back for 2022”.
The job of making sure the course was up to par for the field fell to Ewan Peebles, the director of Golf at Tryall.
He noted that they'd had some nervous moments while watching the weather.
On the morning of the final day, he told the Observer West, “So far, so good. Sunday and Monday were dry; we got half an inch of rain Monday night into Tuesday morning which set us back a little bit. The forecast was not great (Tuesday) but we managed to get through without any rain, there is some potential for rain this afternoon but we all have our fingers and our toes crossed.”
Peebles said they were satisfied the rain had held up and play was not affected.
“We got lots of good feedback from the players, which is nice to hear,” he noted.
Scott Summy of presenting sponsors Aqua Bay Resorts, was happy with the staging, pointing out that it was better than 2020 when they got involved.
“I think this year was better because we understand COVID a lot more than we did last year and the (coronavirus) pandemic,” he told the Observer West.
“Last year everyone seemed maybe a little scared and on edge because of the pandemic, this year I think we understood the pandemic a little more and know that we can play golf with the pandemic,” said Summy.
“All the [COVID-19] testing that was done was really good so I thought this year was actually a little better than last year because of what we now know about the pandemic.”
The field, he stressed, was stronger than last year. “We had that wonderful traditional Jamaican Open field where the professionals and amateurs came to Jamaica and played on the toughest course on the island, and there was a great camaraderie, great field and great competition and everybody seemed really relaxed and having a great time,” he said.
The field, he stressed, was stronger than last year.
“We had that wonderful traditional Jamaican Open field where the professionals and amateurs came to Jamaica and played on the toughest course on the island, and there was a great camaraderie, great field and great competition and everybody seemed really relaxed and having a great time,” he said.