JERSEY GOLF are staging the men’s and ladies amateur matchplay championships in tandem this week, for the very first time.
Historically, the events have been staged separately, but Steven Bowen and Juanita Adlington, the Jersey Golf Union presidents, believe that the time has come to unite the events.
The change will see the men’s Island champion and the ladies’ Island champions [across three divisions] crowned this Sunday at La Moye Golf Club.
Adlington said: ‘We are really excited to implement this change.
‘Sponsors are very keen on combining the events and now we have TEAM Asset Management, providing support across both.
‘From our side, I think it’s brilliant for the sport of golf in Jersey, to have one big week to showcase the Island’s best players.
‘We have scheduled the tee times to allow everyone to play their championships around each other, without stepping on anyone else’s toes.’
Unfortunately, two of golf’s female stars, Royal Jersey juniors Anabelle Lucas-Villar and Iman Hamid-Wilkinson, both miss the event through exam commitments.
Last year’s champion, Elaine Pushman, will also miss the opportunity to defend her crown, as she is currently off-Island.
Multiple Island Champion Hannah Scriven is available to play, however, and will be strong favourite heading into the weekend.
JGU president Bowen echoed Adlington’s sentiments in his excitement for the joint staging of the events.
‘It’s something I have really pushed for because it seems like a no-brainer,’ he said.
‘I think having the best players from the Island competing together will create a spectacle that we haven’t seen on the Island before.
‘The proposition of the jointly-staged event is attractive for sponsors as well as something spectators have been excited for.
‘The golf clubs have also been keen for a move to this format because they have to give up the use of their course to stage these events. Hosting the events together means that the members only miss out on the use of their facilities for one week, instead of two.
‘Perhaps most importantly, I think combining the men’s and ladies games is what we should be seeing in this day and age. I would love to see the inter-insulars combined at some stage and hopefully this is the start of a push towards that.
This weekend should prove to be an exciting one on the men’s front.
Defending champion Richard Ramskill is available to defend, while 2021 Hampshire champion Jo Hacker will be appearing having missed the event last year.
Recently crowned strokeplay champion James Draisey will also seek to complete a rare strokeplay and matchplay double.
Elsewhere the field is littered with past winners, including La Moye member Jason Stokes and Royal Jersey members Alex Guelpa and Matthew Parkman [four-time champion].
The ladies’ qualifying begins today, while the men’s starts on Thursday – with the semi-finals and finals occurring on Sunday.