Jamaica's golfing community has been thrown into mourning once more with news of the passing of stalwart and many-time national amateur representative Biah Maragh. Maragh represented Jamaica at the national senior level between 1975 and 1990 before retiring from competitive golf in 1991.

The stalwart of Jamaican golf passed on June 22 at the age of 73 and was buried on Saturday, July 23 following a service of thanksgiving at the Sandy Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church in Hanover.

"The Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) is saddened to learn of the passing of Biah Maragh," said Jamaica Golf Association President Jodi Munn-Barrow.

"Biah was a national representative for many years. He was the top amateur also for quite some time and performed well in our regional tournaments. It is sad to know that we have lost another stalwart in the game so shortly after the passing of Turo Ziadie. I extend sincere condolences to his family. I will miss him too. A lot of these players were those that I looked up to when I was a junior and who helped me in my junior career so Biah's passing on a personal note is also quite difficult for me."

 Maragh was honoured at the 53rd staging of the Jamaica Open Golf Championship at the Tryall Golf Club in Hanover, where he worked for 35 years at the time he was honoured in 2020. He also competed in the Jamaica Open a number of times.

Maragh worked at the Half Moon Golf Course from 1965-1968 and eventually moved to Kingston in 1974 to become the superintendent at the Constant Spring Golf Club. Over the years, he thrived due mainly to the support of his friend David Mais and successive administrations of the Jamaica Golf Association.

His contemporaries were Lee Edler, Seymour Rose, Garfield Sobers, Lindy Delapenha and Stafford DeMercardo.

 

Justin Burrowes, Sebert Walker Jr., Ryan Lue and William Knibbs form part of a 12-member Jamaica team named for the 65th Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships in the Turks & Caicos Islands from August 1 to 6.

Rocco Lopez and Owen Samuda have also been named to the team for which Aman Dhiman is the reserve player. Lue, at 15 years, is making his debut as the youngest male player while Samuda is 52.

Meanwhile, Emily Mayne, Mattea Issa, Cameron March and Winni Lau comprise the female team with Eryn Blakely named as the reserve player.  Issa at 15 years is the youngest female player on the team but has experience under her belt as this is her second time on the senior team.

The team was named after a rigorous four-day national senior trials played at the Cinnamon Hill Golf Course on the first two days and Half Moon Golf Course on the final two days.  Sebert Walker Jr. topped the leaderboard for the first three days and was ahead by 11 shots at the end of day two but faltered badly and gave up the advantage to Justin Burrowes who won by a stroke on the final play.

Emily Mayne shared the lead between herself and Jodi Munn-Barrow over the four days but ended up winning by eight strokes and ending the trials on 309.

Former player Dr. Mark Newnham will serve as team manager.

The ladies will also be trying to take their first hold of the George Teale Trophy.  Last year, while not fielding a full-strength team, ended in fourth place.

Jodi Munn-Barrow on Thursday was elected the first-ever female president of the 96-year-old Jamaica Golf Association and promised to expand the reach of the sport. Munn-Barrow replaces Peter Chin, who did not seek re-election after serving as president for the last decade.

Her executive includes Vice President Dr. Mark Newnham, Honorary Secretary Fred Sutherland, Assistant Secretary Bruce Lopez and Treasurer William Brown. Alison Reid is the junior golf chairperson while Dave Lyn, Michael Bradford, William Knibbs, Rowena Coe and Vikram Dhiman are committee members.

Munn-Barrow said she never dreamed of becoming president of the JGA which was formed in 1925.

"When I started my golfing career some 30-odd years ago, I never envisioned that I would ever take over the helm of this august body,” she said.

“I remember all of those who have done this before me and I have always looked up to them throughout my career.  I hope that I can make them proud as well as the members of the association and I look forward to working with all of the members in ensuring that the game of golf grows and continues to be very successful."

She said she wants to raise the profile of the sport so as to be able to attract international partnerships.

"I will endeavour to increase the optics of golf in Jamaica.  Some of the areas I would like to focus on include marketing Jamaica as a golfing destination through dialogue with the ministries of Sports and Tourism, reaching out again and having dialogue with the member clubs, trying to bring an AJGA (America Junior Golf Association) event to Jamaica thus lifting the image of our junior golf programme and also increasing the membership of the association by speaking with the presidents of other sporting bodies to try to get their members interested in golf as a second sport," she said.

 

 

Rising stars Justin Burrowes and Emily Mayne have been named among a 12-member team that will represent Jamaica at the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships, scheduled for August 8-13 in Puerto Rico, where they will compete for the Hoerman Cup and George Teale Trophy, for men and women, respectively.

The Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) announced a 17-member team to the 34th Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championship scheduled for July 30 to August 4 at the Punta Blanca Golf Course in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Four reserve players have been included in the team that boasts a mixture of experienced and new players and will compete in six age-group categories, three each for girls and boys.

The 18 & Under Boys players comprise Rocco Lopez, Michael Lowe, and Radino Lobban. Zaniel Knight is the reserve player.

Lopez, who is making the team for the fifth time, is the most accomplished player on the team, having won the Bob Slatter Trophy for 13 & Under Boys back in 2018 when the championship was held in Jamaica.

The two 18 & Under Girls are Emily Mayne and Eryn Blakeley.  Mayne will also be making her fifth appearance for the team while Blakeley is getting her third cap.

Aman Dhiman, Trey Williams, Ryan Lue and Noah Azan in reserve will compete in the Boys 15 and Under category.  Dhiman posted the second-lowest score of four-under-par 68 at the Caymanas Golf Club recently during the JGA's National Golf Championship won by Justin Burrowes.

Mattea Issa, Winni Lau and Mia Cunningham (reserve) were named to the Girls 15 and Under category.  Issa and Lau will each be making their fourth appearance at the championship while Cunningham is in her debut year.

The 13 & Under Boys category will see Aarron Khosh, Ramsay Wayner and Kemari Morris as a reserve player.  This will be Khosh's second time being named on the team and Morris' first. Wayner's listing on the team is provisional as he is 10 years old.  Due to his age, the likelihood he will play will depend on whether JGA gets permission from the Caribbean Golf Association.

The final age group category, the Girls 13 and Under will be filled by Samantha Azan and Anoushka Khatri.  This will be Azan's second time being named to the team but her first time playing.  She was selected in 2020 but there was no competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Khatri is getting her first call up for the team.

Ryan Lue and Aarron Ghosh were also named to the team in 2020 but will be see playing time for the first time as there was no championship in 2020.

 The new players on this year's team are Zaniel Knight, Noah Azan, Mia Cunningham, Ramsay Wayner, Kemari Morris and Anoushka Khatri.

 Team manager Alison Reid has high expectations for the team. "The junior golf team for 2021 is actually a pretty strong team.  There are a lot of experienced players on it, players that have played three, four, five times so it bodes well from an experience point of view,” she said.

“We also have strong juniors in each age group so we at least have one strong player in each age group and then the second place person is also pretty strong."

Reid said that on this occasion there will be two coaches travelling with the team.

“Jonathan Newnham and Jason Lopez; I think both coaches bring different strengths to the table and I think those strengths can only help the team to be its best, both the actual game of golf to the mental game of golf, so we look forward to a very successful tournament."

Several golfers have in the past won age group trophies including Jonathan Newnham, Justin Burrowes and Rocco Lopez, however, the country is still looking for its first country trophy after placing second in 2018 at home and in 2019 in the Bahamas.

 

 

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