After a one-year hiatus due to the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bahamas Professional Golf Tour (BPGT) has returned to action, staging a two-day event this past weekend. David Harris won the professional division and teenager Margaret Fernandez claimed the amateur title.
The tournament began on Saturday and wrapped up on Sunday at the Royal Blue Golf Course at the Baha Mar Resort. It featured a 54-hole event over the two days and an 18-hole event on Sunday.
Harris won with a score of 10-over-par over the two days. Fernandez scored 19-over-par over the three rounds.
Tournament Director Riccardo Davis said there was good competition and with Fernandez winning the amateur division, it was good for the sport.
“We had a lot of amateur golfers who came out. We had some juniors and ladies come out also, but we do not differentiate between amateur, ladies and juniors, so they played against each other,” said Davis. “Fernandez winning was a big plus for us because that shows us that we have a lot of talent here in both the male and female divisions who can take golf to the next level.”
The BPGT kicked off its inaugural event back in 2018 and also staged the tour in 2019. Plans were underway for a 2020 season but the pandemic brought a halt to those plans.
“We did something a little different in our first event this year. We looked at it as a success. We did not have as many people as we wanted to because we had a rush start to this event due to everything else that we had going on. Normally, the event is an 18-hole shootout but this is the first time that our golfers are going to be ranked in the world,” Davis said. “What I mean by that is that our governing body, the BGF (Bahamas Golf Federation), is in partnership with my golf tour, the BPGT, and we are in conversation with the USGA (United States Golf Association), which is one of the bodies for golf in the world. They are going to be sanctioning my events. By sanctioning the events, it allows amateurs to have amateur world golf ranking points for the winner and the pros to have pro world golf rankings points for the winner. That will put us on the map to actually be eligible for the Olympics and that is something that we were looking forward to and having access to whenever the time comes around.”
Harris was challenged by one other competitor, Marcus Pratt, in the pro division. Pratt finished at 24-over-par, but managed to shoot even-par in the final round. On Sunday, Harris finished with four birdies. Pratt had three birdies in that third round on Sunday.
In the amateur division, Fernandez scored 78 in round one and round three, and had a score of 79 in the second round. Robert Martyn and Heathcliffe Kane both scored 21-over-par but it was Martyn who was awarded second while Kane finished third.
Davis said it was difficult to stage the event during the pandemic but he knows that it will take hard work to get the tournament to where they want it to be.
“It was very difficult during these times and that is what made our time feel a lot shorter. I feel like we did not get as much done as we had planned to because of everything that is going on. With that being said, nothing good comes without a lot of hard work. We will continue to put in the hard work to get it to the level where we want it to be,” Davis said.
The next event is set for the last weekend of April. There will be an event at the end of each month straight through to December. The world rankings event has to incorporate a minimum of 54 holes to give the golfers three rounds to qualify. The three-round tournament will not happen every month but Davis and his team plan for at least a couple of months leading up to December.