The Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) held its first media briefing for the prestigious 54th Jamaica Open Golf Championship on Tuesday at the Constant Spring Golf Club. The championship will be held at Tryall Golf Club for the third consecutive year from Sunday November 14 (pro am) to Wednesday, November 17. It continues to be a three-day, fifty-four-hole tournament on the par 72 course.
The late professional golfer Jasper Markland is the honouree this year. He won the Jamaica Open twice in 1964 and 1967. He was the caddie master at Constant Spring for many years and thought many golfers including the current JGA president Jodi Munn-Barrow.
Markland’s daughter Margaret was very appreciative of the honour and recognition of her dad’s contribution to the sport over many years. She said that if he were here “he would be proud, very proud. He was a golf teacher here so he would be very happy for this.”
President Munn-Barrow who is presiding over her first Jamaica Open Championship since becoming the first female JGA president after 96 years of existence said ‘I am looking forward to a fantastic tournament, although I am the president its really the team of the Jamaica Golf Association that has pulled this off and without our sponsors we would not be here. I am looking forward to the golf. I think its gonna be an excellent week of golf.” She said that the overseas golfers come from US, Canada, Bermuda and Trinidad & Tobago. According to Munn-Barrow, JGA has attracted more entries than last year and this bodes well for the tournament.
Munn-Barrow had high praises for the honouree “for my generation Jasper was the professional golfer. I can’t think of anybody who started golf in my time who wasn’t thought by Jaspe,r and beyond being a professional golfer he was a gentleman. He was role model. He had been through so much in his life but he had still given back so much to golf and really a good example for all golfers in Jamaica, and I don’t think golf in Jamaica would be where it is without that platform, without that benchmark of Jasper Markland, hence the recognition.”
Orville Christie, the best placed local pro golfer in 2020 said “nothing is a surety but my intention this year is definitely to defend the local championship.” He expects to get heavy competition from the 2019 top local pro golfer Wesley Brown. Christie said that he has been preparing to compete at Tryall for some time and expect to do well again.
The defending champion in the amateur section William Knibbs says that he is ready to defend his title “I definitely think I can but I won’t get caught up thinking that’s my only focus cause ultimately if I execute well and he beats me or if somebody beat me then you just have to tip your cap to them but I will do everything in my power to give myself the best chance to contend again.” The he refers to Justin Burrowes who the amateur section in 2017 and 2019. Knibbs went back recently to Tryall to familiarize himself with the course again and said that it is just as challenging as ever.
Tournament director David Mais said that the course should be fully ready by the time the tournament tees off for Sunday’s proam tournament. He said that though there has been heavy rains at Tryall in recent weeks, the club is well equipped with the appropriate machinery to do the job.