Leseur urged to seize championship chance

  • Championship chance:  Kenny Leseur will be competing in the Bermuda Championship qualifying event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Championship chance: Kenny Leseur will be competing in the Bermuda Championship qualifying event (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Kenny Leseur could likely be the youngest participant in the upcoming Bermuda Championship qualifier at Mid Ocean Club.

Even if Leseur does not claim one of the two qualifying spots up for grabs at the 36-hole tournament which takes place on October 16 and 17, veteran golf professional Kim Swan sees a bright future for the 15-year-old who is at a golf academy in Florida.

“This is a great opportunity for young Kenny,” Swan said. “He represents the brightest upcoming junior golfer from Bermuda.”

Leseur is a student at the International Junior Golf Academy in Howey in the Hills, Orlando, which was the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy before it merged with Bishops Gate Golf Academy and is now IJGA.

The two rounds of qualifying will take place, with the top two finishers securing spots in the Bermuda Championship at Port Royal from October 31 to November 3.

“I am extremely proud of Kenny’s development, having worked with him for three years from age 11,” Swan added.

“Together with his ever-supporting parents [Kenny and Mary] and Mr Chris Brough of BJGA, I was able to introduce the Leseurs to my extended golf family through chancellor Jack Hawkins of Troy University in Alabama, United States, where Kenny has had the opportunity to compete alongside his junior peers in the Southeast.

“Honestly, from the outset, I encouraged Kenny’s parents to send him overseas to attend school to give his extraordinary talent the best opportunity to develop.

“Quietly, I am thrilled at the choice to send Kenny to attend Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, someone whom I had received coaching from 25 years ago at David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Lake Nona.

“Kenny has won junior/high school events in the US and this opportunity is awesome for a young Bermudian to measure his golf game against PGA Tour players.”

Leseur had some outstanding performances this year, winning on the IMG Junior Golf Tour at the Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando in March, after coming from a shot back on overnight leader Luke Bigelow to win the 15-18 title, his first title on that tour.

In July, Leseur finished tied for second in the 14-15 age group at the Saugahatchee Junior Golf Tournament in Alabama.

Then, in September, the youngster won the under-16 age group at the Lake Country Open in Florida by eight strokes.

Leseur, whose father Kenny Sr was also a talented golfer, has been developing his game overseas the last few years.

Leseur had ambitions even as a 12-year-old, to follow the likes of Michael Sims and Camiko Smith and play regularly overseas.

“I’m hoping to take it all the way to the PGA Tour, or web.com or European Tour,” he told the Royal Gazette in 2016.

Dwayne Pearman, one of the island’s top golfers, has been handed a sponsor’s exemption to play in the main event at Port Royal at the end of the month.

Now, the focus will be on other top local players to see who will join him.

Swan and Pearman were two of the island’s top players, winning the Bermuda Open Championship and other local titles.

“I am most pleased for Dwayne, who continues to play at a high level, keeps himself fit and is working hard to make the most of this unprecedented opportunity,” said Swan of his longtime friend and rival.

“He is the only active player with two Bermuda Open titles. I am retired with three Bermuda Open Championships.”

Sponsor’s exemptions, Swan stated, are the sole discretion of the sponsor in all professional tournaments.

“In my career, I received five sponsor’s exemptions into professional tour events worldwide; one PGA Tour, two European Tour, one Canadian PGA Tour and one South American PGA Tour,” Swan added. “Dwayne’s achievements make him worthy for an exemption.

“Besides, to my knowledge, he is the only two-time Bermuda Open champion among the active Bermuda professionals golfers.”

Swan continued: “On behalf of Bermuda professional golfers past and present, I would like to thank the PGA Tour Bermuda Championship committee, Government of Bermuda and sponsors for providing the greatest professional sporting opportunity to the Bermuda people ever.

“I am so excited for this event. As Port Royal Golf Course enters its 50th year, it is fitting for Dwayne, a product of Port Royal Golf Course, to be offered a sponsor’s exemption.”

“There has never been such great odds to play for a $3 million purse.

I am so proud to finally see an event of this quality on our shores, albeit after I have retired from playing.

“It is an awesome opportunity for the future generations.”

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Published Oct 2, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 1, 2019 at 11:48 pm)

Leseur urged to seize championship chance

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