Jamaica – physically & mentally ready for 34th Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Champs

The Jamaica Golf Association wrapped up its final practice round for the junior team as they get ready for high level competition in the 34th Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships in Puerto Rico starting June 26 to July 1.

Everyone around the team including coaches Jonathan Newnham and Jason Lopez as well as manager Alison Reid and the leading male and female players in Rocco Lopez and Emily Mayne, expressed confidence that the team can do well this time and even win the overall trophy for the firs time.

Coach Newnhan spoke about the team’s preparation while observing the after practice exercises from the putting green at Caymanas Golf Club last Sunday.  He said “It was a good final day.  We have to thank the courses across the island that gave us the opportunity to practice and play and test our game in different conditions so today was great and we will be off to Puerto Rico to try and take the trophy for the first time.”

Practice rounds were played at several golf courses across the island including Half Moon, Tryall, and Cinnamon Hill in the western end of the island and Sandals in the central region as well as at Caymanas – the venue of the final practice round.

He also said “for us its gonna come down to the little things as I have been saying to the team over and over.  Our games are ready but it how we conduct ourselves on a day to day basis, managing our focus, hydration, making sure we get enough rest, these are the things that will separate us.  If we can do that, control what we can control then I like our chances of taking home the trophy.”

Coach Lopez zeroed in on the mental preparation to ensure a win in Puerto Rico.  “Well I think that is going to be the biggest part of the job in the coming week or so when we are starting to prepare to go to Puerto Rico and then obviously once you leave Jamaica go to Puerto Rico, go to Puerto Rico, that’s where Jon and I’s presence will be most felt because that is where the physical side is over at that point and its more about getting into the kids heads and making them understand what the actual process is and how to achieve without putting too much burden on yourself.”

Rocco Lopez who has represented Jamaica a number of times at the junior level and is good enough to also play on the senior team is looking forward to the championships.  “Its gonna be exciting cause we have put in the hard work and I feel like we are can do well in Puerto Rico.  I feel like we are relatively strong in each age group.”

Emily Mayne is the top female among the juniors.  She is also good enough to represent the senor team and will do so at the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships in August.  According to her “it nice to finally join the junior team and have a practice.  I am not usually here.  I go to school abroad (the Bahamas) so to finally have the one last team practice where we can all kinda bond and I can share that new bond with the younger people on the team who have not met me yet or kinda little nervous for the tournament, so its nice (and) I am looking forward to it.  We have kinda younger team than we usually do.  We don’t have a lot of girls in the younger category.  We only one girl but I feel like its gonna be a good tournament.”

Convener for junior golf Alison Reid, has been at the helm of Jamaica’s most successful period for junior golf was upbeat about the team’s chances of winning the overall trophy this year.  “We have a very good team.  In all categories we have solid golfers in each category so we are hopeful.  We are hopeful that with our different practice around the island and exposing our children to different conditions they’ll be able to use that experience when we get to Puerto Rico and not be intimidated by the courses that they don’t know.”

She updated the status of the most recent fund raising activity for the championship “well I think that effort, the fund raiser that we had (golf tournament), we grossed about two million which is very good.  We have one outstanding fundraiser that we are working on now which we are hoping will give us another three hundred thousand or so.  Its not a bad effort.  I think its a five million price tag when we include air fare, hotels and all the other expenses so for us to raise two million I think we are pretty proud of that effort.”

Team Jamaica is on a mission to bag and take home the coveted team trophy for the first time.  The island came close on a number of occasions including 2018 when they came second at home where it hosted the championship and again in 2019 in Puerto Rico.

The team leaves the island Saturday morning for the championships.

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