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Dillas eager to bring home another medal

Eyes on the prize: Dillas wants to match, or even better, Bermuda’s golf bronze medal from 2015 when they compete in Gotland, Sweden this month (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Jarryd Dillas cannot wait for this month’s NatWest Island Games to begin in Gotland, Sweden. Dillas is hoping that the Bermuda team can match or even surpass the bronze medal finish they secured in 2015 and, on a personal level, he is also eager to make up for his poor showing at the last Island Games.

Bermuda have not made too many changes to their winning team with three members of the four man team from two years ago — Dillas, Will Haddrell and Mark Phillips — being chosen again. The only player who did not return was Damian Palanyadi. In Jersey in 2015, Haddrell, Phillips and Palanyadi all put in strong individual performances that led to Bermuda capturing the bronze — Haddrell finished tied for fifth in the individual competition while Palanyadi finished seventh and Phillips came in ninth. Managing to retain three members of that successful team from two years ago could be a strong boost for Bermuda’s hopes of earning a podium finish again this time.

Bermuda have been perennial medal-winner at the Island Games in golf since first entering the biennial competition in 2005. In six appearances since then, the Bermuda men’s team have won gold on three occasions (2007, 2009, and 2013) and added third-place finishes in 2005 and 2015. Dillas and Haddrell have played a key part in this era of success. Dillas has played in every Island Games since 2005 and along with being a part of three gold medal-winning teams; he has also won the individual gold at the 2009 competition and the individual silver in 2013. Haddrell has also tasted success in the Island Games, having won the individual gold at the 2007 competition.

Finishing in third place meant that the Bermuda team enjoyed a pretty successful campaign though the tournament was not exactly one of Dillas’s best on a personal level as he finished 31st in the individual standings.

“Yes, the 2015 Games in Jersey was not my best tournament from an individual standpoint,” Dillas said. “I did not play well and I so did not finish very high, but that’s the game of golf.

“However, thankfully, the rest of the team worked very hard and that is why we got the bronze. That is the strength of this team; we have a lot of depth.”

Since the tournament ended, Dillas has taken the time to reflect on his performance and he hopes to come back stronger than before.

“I am ready to do better this time around; I have put the work in.” Dillas said. He also hopes that he can maybe even reach the heights of 2009 and 2013 when he won the individual gold and silver, respectively. However, Dillas feels that individual accolades come second to the success of the team.

“The goal is for the team to win another bronze like in 2015 or even silver or gold, the individual rankings are not the main concern. The team is what is important.” he said.

Rounding out the ambitious 2017 team is Walker Campbell.

“Walker has just completed his freshman year at William & Mary and this will be his first time taking part in the Island Games,” Dillas said. “Though he has not played in the Island Games before, he has played in the Latin American Amateur Games that were held in Bermuda last year.”

The reserve players for the men’s team are Spencer Wideman and Mitchell Campbell. The Bermuda women’s golf team will be comprised of Tariqah Walikraam, Katrin Burnie, Linda Down and Elizabeth Parsons.

The Island Games will take place at the Visby and Slite Golf Clubs from June 24 to 30.

The Bermuda Golf Association also recently announced that Arch Capital Group Ltd will be the lead sponsor for the Bermuda men’s and ladies golf teams competing at the 2017 Island Games. Keen Ltd and Red Laser Ltd have also agreed to be supporting sponsors of Bermuda’s team.