Two hundred and twenty shooters journeyed to the picturesque Murphy Hill in St. Ann for the two day Driftwood Gun Club Sporting Clays Challenge which became a two-day event this year. The top shooters did not disappoint as defending champions Christian Sasso and Wendy McMaster retained their titles and were joined by Cameron Phang Sang who topped the junior section.
The venue which overlooks the town of Ocho Rios, saw a number of upgrades including the approach road as well as the carving out of numerous stations into the beautiful hillsides This allowed for ease of access of the bumper crowd of shooters and supporters including cricketer Chris Gayle who was seen on the course during the competition.
Three-time national shotgun champion Sasso shot 88 and a 96 for a total of 184 during the two days, to top all the shooters and was declared the Highest Overall winner. He was not among the leaders after day one but roared loudly on the second day to secure the win. He said “yesterday didn’t go as planned but I went home and got some good rest and came out here and did what I had to do. Regarding the win he said “it feels good. It always good to win especially coming off a two months break. It really feels good, the competition was really close this year so I am happy about that. When asked about the conditions he said “it was beautiful. The weather was good, everything was good, can’t ask for better weather.”
Robert Yap Foo with a total score of 180 (89, 91) was involved in a shoot-off with Brandon Laing (who posted the same score) to determine the runner-up. Yap Foo shot 5 out of 6 while Laing got 3 out of 6 in the shoot-off.
Day one leaders six-time national shotgun champion Shaun Barnes (90) and Geoffrey Ziadie (90) both shot 89 on day two and had to take on each other in a one-one shoot-off on the hillside where the targets were released against the clear blue sky. They were still tied after the first round of six targets. At the second go Barnes got the better of Ziadie to top the A Class. Ziadie was second while Bruce DuQuesnay 178 was third.
Mention must be made of Ray McMaster who did not make a top three finish for the two days but shot 95 to post the second best score of the two days.
Four-time national female shotgun champion Wendy McMaster was happy to retain her title. “I feel very happy. I am very proud and appreciate that I came out and claim my title at this tournament this year and I am very, very happy. This venue is a very lovely venue. I would shoot here every day. I wouldn’t mind have this kind of concept or environment to practice in because it helps you to practice certain type of presentation, cause overseas there are targets like theses with wide background and vast distance on the targets and this would really improve certain presentation and how you shoot a target.”
The junior section was very competitive with just two points separating the top three positions. Cameron Phang Sang 173 topped the section with David Wong 172 (including 90 on day-two) copping second. Third went to Rajir DaCosta 171 who also got into the nineties with a 92 on the second day. According to Phang Sang “I really come to have a competition for juniors especially, it’s always not easy no matter what. Even this weekend it was a separation of one and one for each place so a mean I am happy that I won but there is a lot to learn and we still gonna keep going same way. The conditions today I feel were perfect and the conditions yesterday were good as well. You had a nice strong breeze but not too bad that it affected the birds, sun was shining, conditions were really good today.”
The top three placements in the classes were: B Class –Alex Cunningham 173, David Wong 172, Zachary Harris 169. C Class –Brandon Laing 180, Ricky DuQuesnay 171, JJ Ralston 169. D Class – Rajir DaCosta 171, Gordon Bucknor 169, Justin Samuda 166. E Class – Winston Quest 134 over David Campbell 134 (by way of shoot-off), Bradley Wright 129. Hunters Class –Joshua Lim 146, Stephen Silvera 142, David Ffrench 131. Sub Juniors – Noah Azan 124, Aliana McMaster 105, Zachary Williams 89.
Three shooters will move up in classes based on their results. Alex Cunningham to A Class, Rajir DaCosta to C Class and Joshua Lim to E Class.
President of the Driftwood Gun Club, Ian McKay was pleased with the high turn-out of shooters for the tournament. “This event was thought of to help up to support our charitable events and things that we do down in St. Elizabeth where we predominantly help with early childhood education, community development and things like that. I am very very happy, very pleased with the work that the guys have put in, very happy for the support and I hope we can continue to make this the number one event on the calendar.”
Major sponsors for the event were First Rock Capital Solutions, N F Barnes Construction, Supreme Venures, NCB Capital Solutions an National Rums, where there were numerous supporting sponsors.