Jersey Golf’s golden week

Jersey men's and ladies teams, pictured at L'Ancresse after a successful Island Games Picture: JERSEY GOLF

THERE are fewer tougher feats in the sport of golf than going wire-to-wire – leading from the first round of four, until the very last.

Couple that with the fact you have the weight of expectation on you to perform.

Jo Hacker dealt with all of that, in spectacular fashion, in atrocious weather.

The Island Games debutant led from start to finish on Guernsey soil with a partisan crowd cheering on their home hopefuls trying to chase him down.

They were all playing for second though, as the Caesarean was in a league of his own to win by nine, as well as leading his team consisting of Matt Parkman, Alex Guelpa and Josh Ozard to a silver.

Hacker said: ‘Leading from the outset and finishing it off was the ultimate goal for the week.

‘But to actually go out there and execute it is a great feeling.

‘It’s a really long week, I didn’t practice too much in the build-up because it’s so important to conserve energy.

‘My plan was to stay steady. The course is not overly long, so it was a lot of irons off the tee and playing to the middle of greens.

‘Conditions were really challenging, so it was all about limiting mistakes and trying not to make any mental errors.

Despite his individual goals, Hacker’s main priority was on the team aspect of the event.

He said: ‘I love team environments. It was that way in college in America and it adds a different dynamic.

‘I tried to take a leadership role during the week and offering advice to both my team and the women’s team.

‘Like what my attitude would be and my game plan during the event.

‘It was a team competition as much as individual and I wanted them to succeed as much as myself.’

The Islander did confess that the weight of expectation was not always easy to cope with.

‘The weeks leading up the event were quite difficult,’ said Hacker.

‘I had people coming up to me and saying I should win gold.

‘You feel if you don’t win, then you are kind of a failure.

‘That was really challenging to deal with.’

Elsewhere, in the women’s event, there were more golds from L’Ancresse to add to Jersey’s medal haul.

Led by Flora Keites, who now has three individual silvers in as many Games, the women starred in horrendous conditions to lead from start to finish.

In a close-run affair, Bermuda closed the gap on the final day by 12 strokes, however the Caesareans held on to win the overall team event by three shots.

Hacker was not the only one who felt the camaraderie between the teams – women’s manager Juanita Adlington felt that group cohesion played a big part in Jersey’s success.

‘The atmosphere across both the teams was brilliant,’ she said.

‘They were all so supportive of each other and I think that really helped.

‘We mixed up the group in the practice rounds and everyone was offering advice to each other and it seemed to work really well.’

While a team gold is always the ultimate feeling, the achievement was made all the more sweet after battling the unforgiving Guernsey elements.

Adlington said: ‘I think when you are able to battle through weather like that, and come out on top, it is a real testament to mental strength and fight.

‘That final day, with the rain and wind driving, without any caddies, it was so challenging.

‘They had such a brilliant attitude all week and they were rewarded in the best way possible.

‘I always knew there was a good chance at gold entering the week, but the way they handled the moment was excellent and I’m delighted for them.’

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