Stephen Willems of Team Seven says a strong combined effort formed the backbone of their top-place finish in last weekend’s Baxter Travel Golf Tournament at the Sandals Golf and Country Club in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
Team seven, comprising Willems, Robert Cole, and twin brothers Larry Field and Dennis Field, had a combined score of 130 in the scramble format over the two-day competition, after leading at the end of the opening day with 67.Team seven also won the award for being the best-dressed quartet.“It was a great team effort and each one of us had some good shots and some bad shots, but we all made it work to win the tournament,” Willems, a first-timer at the tournament, told the Jamaica Observer at Saturday’s award ceremony.“The course was great, I really enjoyed it and Sandals and Baxter threw a wonderful tournament. We had two caddies and they were absolutely fantastic and really helped us to feel the course,” he added.The winning team will represent the Canadian travel industry at the Sandals world travel golf tournament next year.Team six (Chippy Jega, Spirkathan Naqalingam, Virgilio Russi and Michael Degrace) finished four shots behind to take second place. They were also in second place after day one with a score of 68.Team eight of Kathy Munroe, Wayne Lickers, Stephen Dugal and Chinita Williams improved to overall third place after scoring 73 on the first day. In individual contests, Jackie Smith of team one was awarded the female with the longest drive, while Willems won the male equivalent.Toni Rolli of team nine won the putting contest.The tournament, which welcomed influential Canadian travel agents and tour operators, is the third major international travel agent golf event staged at the venue in a month after the Sandals United States and Latin American travel agents tournaments, respectively.The events promote Jamaica as a golfing destination with the goal of boosting the nation’s hotel and tourism industry.Maureen Barnes-Smith, director of sales and marketing for Sandals Canada, said the event was a success.“The Canadian travel agents know the value of Jamaica, they know the value of Sandals, and they also know the value of this tournament. It’s a great event. We have travel agents from all over Canada — from Vancouver, from Quebec, from Ontario—and they all come to have a huge weekend where they are having fun playing golf, but it’s also to learn about the island and to learn about Sandals,” she remarked.
Ramel Sobrino, general manager of Sandals Ochi, lauded all team members at Sandals for putting on another successful tournament, especially with the “excellent preparation” despite the very active rainy season. He also noted Sandals’ partnerships with Red Stripe beer and Appleton Estate Rum.Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett expressed “deep appreciation of the partnership” between Canada and the Jamaica’s tourism, and praised Sandals for helping Jamaica’s tourism industry to reach its objectives.