American Borja holds on to win Jamaica OpenSunday, December 10, 2017
BY PAUL A REID
ROSE HALL, St James — American Hernan Borja held on to win the 51st Jamaica Open golf title at Half Moon Golf Club yesterday, his first major victory.
He shot a third-round two under par 70 for a 54-hole three-day total of 12 under par 204, to win by three strokes and take his biggest pay cheque — US$17,000.
The 32-year-old American, who led by three shots overnight, got the better of his compatriot Tarick Can who also shot two under 70 yesterday for a three-day total of nine under 207, while three others — Michael Maguire, David Sanders and Jordan Gumberg — were tied in third place on four under par 212.
The three-way tie for third could give the organisers of the PGA tour LatinoAmerica event and the BMW Jamaica Classic in April some thinking to do, as they had given byes to the top three from the Jamaica Open.
Maguire, one of the three players tied for third, told the Jamaica Observer he plans to go to the qualifying school for the LatinoAmerican tour so he could ease the pressure somewhat on the organisers.
Jamaican Junior Justin Borrowes topped the amateur field with a three-day score of eight over par 224 after rounds of three over par 75, two over par 74, and three over par 75.
American Nikita Gubenko was second with 10 over par 226 with three Jamaicans filling out the next three places — Zandre Roye with 22 over par 238, Jonathon Newnham, who shot two over 74 yesterday for 26 over par 242, and Ricardo Perry 27 over par 243.
The final day came down to a two-man race between the two most consistent players Borja and Can, the only two players who managed to go under par on all three days and battled down to the wire.
Bporja got off to a good start and was flying with a five-shot lead at one time on the front nine, but Can, who was the cooler of the two players, gradually closed the gap to one shot on the back nine, but just failed to daw level when he just missed a birdy putt on the 10th hole.
Borja, who has had his best two rounds ever while playing in Montego Bay, a course-record nine under par 63 on Friday after he shot an eight under 64 in the third round of the BMW Jamaica Classic in June, joked afterwards that he needs to play more events here.
He agreed that playing here at the BMW event, a part of the PGA LatinoAmerican tour in June, gave him an advantage.
“Playing here in June helped me a lot, I was comfortable being here in MoBay... I played decent in June where I had a 64 and beat it here this weekend and that felt great. I like this place, I need to keep coming back,” he said.
He described yesterday's final round when he went head-to-head with Can as “very intense”.
Borja said: “I had a nice start with a couple of birdies and had a five-shot lead at one point then went bogey, bogey, and he made a birdie — and all of sudden he closed it to two and on the back nine he closed it to one and I felt the pressure a lot.”