Golf association mulls change in selection process as players jet off to ECGA tournament

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By Neto Baptiste

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Golf Association (ABGA), Avery Jonas, has hinted that the criteria by which national teams are currently selected could change in the near future.

He was addressing the absence of the country’s female golfer, Kemisha Anthony, ahead of the team’s participation in the 2019 Eastern Caribbean Golf Association (ECGA) Championships slated to run from October 4-6 in Barbados.

“It was about four weeks of trials and players were able to play up to seven rounds. We selected the four best scores from your seven rounds and we selected the team from there. Obviously, it’s not only the trials, we have to take other things into consideration as well, and having said that, I think next year we will look at selecting the team differently,” he said.

“This year, I think we were able to get the best team we can, but next year we will look at another way of selecting the team just to always ensure that we always have the best 12 players going out to represent Antigua and Barbuda,” he added.

Announced two weeks ago, the Antigua and Barbuda team is headlined by experienced Omorry James in the men’s division. He is joined by Wilston Charles, Demar James and Jonathan Pigott.

Team captain Paul Michael, Dion Massiah and Eldine Baptiste will contest the senior division while Patrick Ryan and Lionel O’Brien will compete in the super seniors division.

Female players Sarafina Nicholas, Kris Kamajian and Sabienea Winston round off the selections.

Jonas expressed confidence in the ability of the team and more so, the ability of the female players.

“These girls train very hard because this time last year Sabienea was shooting 120 in the trials and now she is shooting in the 80s, so that’s a huge improvement for someone who has only being playing golf for two or three years. She played in the World Junior Championships in San Diego earlier this year and I know she has caught the eyes of some scouts so, hopefully, something will develop for her shortly,” he said.

Pigott, who will play in the men’s division, believe there has been significant progress in the growth and development of the game at a national level.

 “The game is growing, with the help of coach George, Sabienea Wilson and Sarafina Nicholas, I can say for myself that these girls practice harder than me … than anyone else. The commitment is there; I see a lot of new faces at Cedar Valley, I just love it,” he said. The team is slated to leave for Barbados on Thursday and will take on golfers from St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, Martinique and hosts Barbados.

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