With the lush greens of the picturesque Sandals Golf and Country Club in Upton at their disposal, a number of young talents took centre stage as they paraded their skills in the inaugural drive, chip and putt tournament.

Hosted by the Sandals Foundation, through their Care for Kids Junior Golf Programme, the tournament, not only treated the aspiring stars to a day of excitement, but also served as a qualifier for the prestigious Sandals Golf and Jerk Festival, scheduled for June.

Among the 13 competitors, who graced the course on Saturday was 12-year-old Cavani James, whose passion for the sport and unwavering determination shone brightly as he executed well in all three strokes to emerge victorious. James tallied a score of 75 to finish ahead of Jerone Thomas (66) and Tyreek Smith (58).

By virtue of their performances, all three junior golfers secured spots in the Sandals Golf and Jerk Festival – an exciting sports and food event –where they will be paired with their senior counterparts.

For James, golf is more than just a game, it is a lifelong dream in the making. From the moment he first picked up a club two years ago while attending Exchange Primary, James knew that he had found his calling.

His appetite for the sport intensified even more when he started attending weekend sessions under the guidance of Sandals golf pro Bill Williams, who has nurtured homegrown talents such Romaine Williams and others.

With each swing and each putt, James, fuelled by a burning desire to excel on the golf course, honed his skills, and the Ocho Rios High student recently showcased that skill with a level of maturity beyond his years.

Throughout the tournament, James faced stiff competition from older players and fellow aspiring young golfers alike. But with nerves of steel and a steady hand, he navigated the challenges with precision and poise.

"I feel very good to have won the tournament, especially because I was late in getting to the course and I thought that I wasn't going to make it, but God had other plans for me. So, I am really happy, the tournament itself was also a challenge, anybody who knows golf knows it can be frustrating when the strokes don’t come off how you want them to, but it was good,” James said.

“My expectation is very high for the Sandals Golf and Jerk Festival, I know it is going to be good for me because when I start playing in more tournaments, the better I will get because my ambitions are to go as far as possible in the sport. So, I am going to keep working on what I have to with Mr. Bill [Williams] because I would like to go far in this sport, not only for me, but also to make my mother proud,” he added.