Jr. golfers shine in November

SKILLS CHALLENGE — Swing Dynamics instructor Emalcus Hield stands left of the Swing Dynamics’ Skills Challenge competitors. Pictured left to right in order of first-sixth are Aiden Callahan, Hugo Franklyn, Mark Schubauer, Sean Norville-Smith, Nolan Russell and Pedro. T. Guzman. (PHOTOS COURTESY OF EMALCUS HIELD)

The month of November was very active for a number of junior golfers on the island, and Adrian Stan-Busuioc and Destiny Duhaney stood out as being extra special.

Following the Swing Dynamics’ Skills Challenge, held on November 9 at the Fortune Hills Golf Course, scores of young golfers competed in the Grand Bahama Junior Invitational - a Bahamas Golf Federation - Northern Region (BGF-NR) sanctioned tournament - this past Saturday, November 23 at the Reef Golf Course. 

The invitational highlighted male and female junior club swingers from 11 and Under, 12-13, 14-15 and 16-18. Meanwhile, the skills competition primarily tested the golfers’ chipping and putting abilities - which is key to players’ scoring.

Adrian Stan-Busuioc’s play over 18 holes lifted him to becoming this year’s overall champion, and has him in the fast lane to compete in the junior national tournament, expected to tee-off early 2020. 

Destiny Duhaney also played some of her best golf of the year as a “newbie” to the sport, according to Swing Dynamics’ instructor Emalcus Hield, to become the girls’ 16-18 champion. 

Hield spoke with this daily recently and recapped both the skills challenge, which served as an avenue to get golfers back into the swing of things, and the stellar play of the juniors during the local invitational. 

Overall, in light of the island’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Dorian, the golf pro expressed that both events were important for the juniors to participate in. 

“The skills competition was the first event that we had. So, that was very good in terms of getting the kids back out after (Hurricane) Dorian. That went pretty good. We had basically a lot of new-comers who stepped up and played pretty good.

“The main thing about the junior golf program is that the parents are involved and always supporting the kids. The kids were really excited to be back out there competing after everything.”

As far as the G.B. Invitational goes, Hield noted that the playoff allows instructors and heads of the BGF-NR to assess where the more advanced junior players are in their overall games. 

“Even though that was a big event, our focus is really nationals. That’s the ultimate - to be able to represent The Bahamas. The junior invitational is really a big event in terms of seeing where they are in terms of that type of pressure,” he added.

While all of the golfers brought their best drives and putts to the Reef, Hield said he was most impressed with Duhaney’s and Stan-Busuioc’s performances. With no given date for the nationals, which typically tees off in February or March, Hield stated that both golfers are ahead of schedule in their preparation. 

“I’m very excited about our newcomer - Destiny. She’s really making her presence felt. She’s preparing for nationals and also aiming for that ultimate prize, which is trying to get a scholarship after she graduates high school in another year. 

“She’s been working really hard and every day we’ve been working. Her technique is really good right now and she demonstrated that in this tournament. 

“Adrian, he’s right on track. He’s playing really, really good. We did a lot of work with his game over the summer to improve it and he too demonstrated that this past Saturday. We have another player, Matthew Deveaux, he’s playing really good too. 

“This year I have high expectations for these kids, and it’s simply because of the work that they put in over the summer.

“It felt good for the tournament to get off the ground because after the hurricane and all the challenges. A lot of the kids had been displaced, but they’re now back. They were excited to be back among their friends and compete and do what they love to do.

“It’s great in itself to be able to do that because you never know moving forward, what could happen with some of the kids. Some of them were in the United States but now they’re back in Freeport and back in school. It feels more normal now as opposed to a few months ago,” he concluded.

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