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Wednesday 15th August 2012

The OECS golf team is now the new reigning Caribbean Amateur Golf champions! Check out this first-hand account of the journey it took for the team to get to victory from one the team's very own, R. Paul Michael:

"First, we would like to thank the ABGA for sending the Four representatives to the OECS Team. Each representative, Captain Errol Samuels, Dion Massiah, Omarry James, and R. Paul Michael, put their best foot forward, performing and presenting themselves as proud Antiguans to the best of their abilities.

We came upon a very strong field of 9 Caribbean teams excluding USVI only. The parade of teams was full of colors and many delegates from St. Kitts as well as throughout the Caribbean. With the Host sponsor RBC, the CGA Committee members, and CGA Hall of Famers present, the opening ceremony went off without a hitch. The teams took pictures and exchanged country pins, as is tradition, wishing each other well.

OECS Team Managers Chris Taylor (St. Lucia) and Joel MacEachrane (St. Kitts) establish a positive and winning plan for the whole team from the beginning with meetings and curfews that promoted team unity.  Each section of our team established a plan of action for the competition.

Day 1 saw the OECS teams playing solid and jostling for position in each section.  The day was hot and the CGA decided to set the course up very difficult (high rough) and tuck the pins.  Adrian Norford (St. Kitts) brought in a strong beginning score of 70 (-1) for the second low score of the day for the Hoerman Cuppers, placing the OECS in the top three after the first day.

Day 2 was more of the same strong play on a challenging golf course.  The OECS Super Senior team of Errol Samuels (ANU) and Brad Paul (STL) faired much better, shooting 72 and moving closer to contention with the top teams.  The OECS Mid-Amatuer team of Dion Massiah (ANU) and Trevor Levine (SKB) started to come together as a team and play the golf we thought they could. Their scores of 71 and 72 showed their desire to surge forward and of things to come in the next 2 days. The OECS Senior team of Lionel Obrien (MON) and Canice Louis (STL) continued to struggle with their putting on very tight pins and slick greens that were rolling pretty fast.  The OECS Hoerman Cup Team, with scores of 69 (Raymond Percival), 72 (Anand Harridyal), 73 (RPM), 74 (Omarry James), and 75 (Adrian Norford), the OECS made a strong move towards the Hoerman Cup lead with a high score of 75 being thrown out of the scoring, placing the OECS only 4 shots out of first place behind the Domican Republic.

Day 3 brought on the wind and the scores reflected the change in the course. Each OECS team suffered setbacks in their bids to move forward, although R. Paul Michael shot a 69 to slow the bleeding of the Hoerman Cup team. The Ladies team of Christine MacEachrane(SKB) and Debbie Widowson (SKB)were out played and out gunned due to the loss of Vachelle Byron (SKB) who was dismissed from the OECS team for disciplinary reasons. The Ladies team clearly missed Kymisha Anthony, who had a more pressing engagement involving her college team. Kymisha was in close contact with the team and gave full support from afar.

On Day 4, the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club started to show its teeth with wind and fast greens.  That is what home course advantage is all about, and the OECS Hoerman Cup team was ready for the challenge.  With the Hoerman Cup Team being the only true contenders for the title, the OECS managers focused on team support and surging forward to history. The day started with the Dominican Republic out playing both the OECS and Puerto Rico on the front 9. At the turn, the DR had a seemingly insurmountable +23 stroke lead over the OECS.  But, as home course advantage would have it, the OECS lead off group members of Omarry James, Anand Harridyal, and R. Paul Michael buckled down and started making putts for birdies and pars, which put tremendous pressure on the DR players who were so solid for three days.  The strokes and the tournament control started to turn into the OECS favor and the players drove it home with solid finishes in tough windy conditions.  As the anticipation grew on the 18th green, the OECS team members began to realize a dream of 25 years was about to become a reality.  Many of the OECS former team members were present and became very emotional as Raymond Percival anchored the Hoerman Cup team to a 5 stroke victory.  As an added bonus, R. Paul Michael played solid enough to be the Medalist of the 2012 CAGC tournament, apparently the first time for a rookie in its history.

All the other OECS teams played well but were up against much stiffer competition.  The Overall winners of the tournament were the Puerto Rican team.  Apparently, the Hoerman Cup is the perennial prize for the tournament and is highly celebrated as the most coveted trophy for each country because it was the original trophy created for the CGA.  The Hoerman Cup will be making its way to Antigua very soon for each 2012 member to personally hold and cherish for the rest of the year.

A grand celebration broke out on the 18th green that continued well into the next morning, with congratulations being given continuously by the gracious and humble other CGA teams. The greatness of the colossal comeback will only be overshadowed by the full meaning of this historic victory for the 2012 OECS Hoerman Cup Team.

Again, we thank the ABGA and the OECS for this opportunity to show our talents against the best competition in the Caribbean. We do hope that this great victory will encourage more participation of players and sponsors in the ABGA and in Caribbean golf.

I am R. Paul Michael, and this is my report."


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