Eric West back to defend Stroke Play title
Eric West will launch the defence of his title in the Bermuda Stroke Play Championships today at Port Royal Golf Course.
The 37-year-old captured his second title and first in 15 years after blowing away the field on the way to an emphatic 14-shot victory at last year’s 54-hole event.
“In this season of my life I'm just out here because I love the game and, quite frankly, I miss competition,” West said. “It's probably where I most feel at home – although obviously today it's purely recreation.”
The former European Challenge Tour player will defend his crown in a field also boasting ten-times winner Jarryd Dillas and Jevon Roberts, the reigning Bermuda Match Play champion.
“Many of us have been playing against one other since we were juniors, so it's fun also to tee it up and get the rivalries renewed,” added West, who has been paired along with Rajesh Pachai and Harry Thompson for today’s opening round at the par-71 Southampton layout. “Someone has to keep the young guys in check.”
West turned professional in 2006, a year after capturing his maiden Bermuda Stroke Play Championships title, before regaining his amateur status a decade later.
Dillas finished second last year and Roberts tied for third with Will Haddrell who is not competing this year.
Others expected to be in contention for West’s title are multiple winner Robert Vallis, Damian Palanyandi and Spencer Wideman.
Meanwhile, also back to defend his title is Calvin Hendrickson, who won the men’s senior division last year by a commanding ten shots.
However, a new champion will be crowned in the both the women’s and senior women’s divisions, as Tariqah Walikraam and Anne O’Neill have moved on.
Walikraam has since turned professional while O’Neill no longer resides on the island.
Walikraam won the women’s title last year by a whopping 18-shot margin while O’Neill pipped Katrin Burnie by one stroke to capture the senior women’s crown.
“The Bermuda Stroke Play Championships is a very popular event that attracts a good quality field,” Gary Venning, the tournament director, said.
“We are hopeful that this is going to provide an exciting and competitive tournament.”