By Rawle Welch
A record number of entrants will vie for the coveted 2008 Smirnoff Vodka Guyana Open Golf Tournament trophy which tees off this Saturday, at the Lusignan Golf Club.
This was disclosed to the media during the launching of the tournament which was conducted in the Boardroom of main sponsor Banks DIH Ltd yesterday.
Representing the two parties were Banks DIH Ltd Sales and Marketing Executive Carlton Joao, Smirnoff Vodka Brand Manager Wayne Bristol, Communications Manager Troy Peters, who also acted as Public Relations Officer for the Club, while Club President Mel Sankies, Secretary Ronald Bulkan and Club Captain Jerome Khan acted on behalf of the Organisers.
Joao speaking at the ceremony said that it was indeed a privilege for the Company to be sponsoring the tournament for a third year, adding that since that time they’ve witnessed it grow from strength to strength.
“I must commend the club for ensuring that the sport receives significant visibility and for this the media must come in for high praise,” Joao said.
He added that Banks DIH has been a major contributor to sports throughout the country and will continue to support sports in the future.
Joao further mentioned that the weather has been kind over the past week with brilliant sunshine and hopefully it remains that way for the duration of the tournament.
Khan shortly after extending thanks to Banks DIH for their continued support of the event reported on the format of the 2-day tournament which will be played in four (4) categories over 36 holes with the Men’s segment to be contested in three flights namely A which will be between 0-9; B- 10-17 and C-18-28 and the Ladies.
According to him, players from the USA, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname have already begun arriving for the tournament with 2007 champion Jaipaul expected to defend his title.
He added that due to the tournament, the sport has enjoyed unprecedented interest with much more activity being witnessed at the club than in the past.
Khan before closing praised the efforts of several individuals who’ve worked tirelessly in helping to prepare the club for such a prestigious event and they are: Sankies, Bulkan, Ian Gouveia, Gavin Todd, Brian Hackett, Esau Shamshuddin, Mike Mangal, Colin Ming and Brian Glasford.
Bulkan said that the tournament is the most exalted event on the local golf calendar which usually attracts the largest field that also includes international participation.
A total of 38 prizes will be given out to the respective winners. The first prize goes to the players with the best overall gross scores.
He warned the overseas contingent that Guyana will mount a far more vigorous challenge this time since they did not take too kind to the fact that the title was won by an overseas-based player last year.
“The guys have already indicated that they will present a more determined display this time to ensure the trophy remains right here in Guyana.”
Sankies in his presentation also paid recognition to the pivotal role of the media in spreading the sport and thanked the sponsors for their unremitting act of support. He welcomed all the overseas players who’ve returned to compete in the competition.
The proposed tee off time is 07:00 hrs, while there will be a reception for the overseas contingent tomorrow at the club.
Meanwhile, two of the players to arrive very early Mohamed and Mo Shafi of the USA speaking with Kaieteur Sport said that they are pretty much prepared for the event and are excited about the prospects of doing well this time.
“Even though golf is a game that is a bit unpredictable even when a player feels he or she is adequately prepared, we’ve left nothing to chance and decided to arrive early so that we can get in valuable practice on the greens,” Mohamed said.
He pointed out that the grass here is a bit different to the one they are accustomed to playing on back home so it is important that they arrive early and get acclimatise.
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