MULLET BAY - Scott DeLong continued the Anguillan supremacy for a second year in a row by taking over the reign from Ryan Bowey. By doing so DeLong won his 1st St. Maarten Open title during the 23rd annual St. Maarten Open Golf Tournament.
Scott DeLong, who is the Head Golf Professional at CuisinArt Resort in Anguilla, made it clear from the start that he was determined to take home the Championship trophy. After shooting an even round par 70, DeLong had a share of the lead together with Raymond Percival from St. Kitts. Not far behind were Theron Loizes from Anguilla with a score of 73 and 14 year old Pierre Garcia from St. Martin who shot a first round score of 74. Garcia is one of the most talented golfers who started his golf career in the Junior Golf Program of the St. Maarten Golf Association.
The Championship flight that had a record amount of 20 players all with a handicap between 0-10, consisted of a lot of players that were determined to chase the first day leaders on the second day of the tournament. Besides early runs from Jonathan Jean-Noel from Guadeloupe, another 14 year old player and previous Open champion Howard Hobgood, conditions were not in favor for low scoring.
Although they all tried hard, at the end Percival, Loizes and Garcia made too many mistakes to put any pressure on DeLong. DeLong on the other hand kept his composure and closed the deal on the back 9 to win the 23rd annual St. Maarten Open Golf Tournament by 7 strokes and to end up with a total score of 145 Low Gross. Raymond Percival came in second with a total score of 152 Low Gross.
The prize for Tournament Overall Low Net was won by Steven Johnson from St. Maarten with a total Low Net score of 132.
During the 2 day 36 holes tournament that took place over the weekend at the Mullet Bay Golf Course, a total amount of 97 players from both St. Maarten and St. Martin, joined by a large group of golfers from Anguilla, Curacao, St. Kitts, Nevis, Guadeloupe as well as from Canada, USA, and Holland, got started with an opening reception for players and sponsors on Friday evening at Mélange International Grill in Port the Plaisance.
The tournament got underway on Saturday morning for the first round. After the second round on Sunday a recognition party was held at the Sky Beach Bar and Lounge where the honorable Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs was present to officially open the awards ceremony.
In the Champions category, the prize of 1st Low net was won after a match of cards by Jesus Rivera from St. Maarten with a score of 141 Low Net, Pierre Garcia won 2nd Low Net with the same score.
In the category Men’s 1st flight for players with a handicap between 11 and 18, Kit Lee from St. Maarten came out on top with a score of 164 Low Gross, Jonathan Haillant took first Low Net with a score of 138. In the Men’s 2nd Flight for players with a handicap between 18 and 36, first Low Gross was won by Steven Johnson from St. Maarten with a score of 170, first Low Net went to Loic Springer from St. Martin with a score of 137.
In a strong field with a total amount of 13 female players, the prize for Low Gross in the Ladies category went to Marie Gibbons from the USA with a score of 181. Low Net was won by Odile Mezière from St. Martin with a score of 146.
Philippe Thevenet from St. Martin shot 159 to win once again the Low Gross in the category Senior’s 1st Flight for players over 50 years old and with a handicap between 11 and 17, while Peter Parisi took 1st Low Net in this category with a score of 135. In the Senior’s 2nd Flight for players with a handicap between 18 and 36, first Low Gross was won by Glenford Gumbs from Anguilla with a score of 199, first Low Net went to Rourke Henderson from St. Maarten with a score of 147.
This year again there was a large amount of players participating in the category Super Seniors for golfers over 60 years old. Therefor this category was split up for players with a handicap up to 18 and a category with handicaps from 19 to 36. In the ‘Super Senior’s 1st Flight’, Richard St. Peter from the USA won Low Gross with a score of 161 and Low Net was won by David Ward with a score of 135. The category ‘Super Seniors 2nd Flight’ was won by Steven de Windt from St. Maarten with a score of 195 Low Gross, Bill Oliver won Low Net in this category with a 139.
The St. Maarten Golf Association SMGA was able to organize this top ranked tournament due to the great partnership with Mullet Bay Resort & Golf Course, B&C Beverages and the St. Maarten Tourist Office, combined with the relentless efforts from its members, volunteers and the tremendous support it received from both the local and international business community. Proceeds from the event will benefit pre-selected community organizations like the ‘No Kidding with our Kids Foundation’, the ‘LAB Sports Academy’ from Les Brown and the Junior Golf Foundation of St. Maarten.
The SMGA is a non-profit organization of avid golfers that promotes the practice of the game of golf and to foster community sense. The SMGA organizes golf matches and tournaments for its members and non-members and donates most of its proceeds that are made through membership fees and during these events like the St. Maarten Open to multiple community organizations on the island.