Star-studded local qualifying field sorted for Butterfield Bermuda Championship
Arguably the strongest field ever will compete at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship Qualifier at Port Royal Golf Course next week.
The field boasts many of the island’s top professional and amateur players, including defending champion Camiko Smith, who grew up right next to the par-71 Southampton layout.
"This is probably the strongest field we have had in any of the Bermuda Championship qualifiers,“ Gary Venning, of the Bermuda Golf Association, told The Royal Gazette.
“Seven of the players who are registered to play this year are previous qualifiers.”
Michael Sims, Jarryd Dillas, Kenny Leseur, Daniel Augustus, Dwayne Pearman, Anthony Phipps and Smith have all qualified for the main field previously.
Sims, the former Web.com Tour player, qualified for the inaugural PGA event in 2019 after finishing as joint medallist, along with then fellow professional Leseur and top amateur Dillas. Augustus, a first alternate, and Pearman were both included for the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption.
Smith won last year’s qualifying event by five shots with Sims and Phipps securing the remaining qualifying spots up for grabs. Neither of the qualifiers made the 36-hole cut.
Kim Swan, the former European Tour player, Scott Roy, the Bermuda Professional Golf Association president, Chaka DeSilva, Chris Grantier, Christopher Smith, Delyone Borden, Andrew Trott-Francis, Dwayne Gibson, Jeffrey Lindo, Mark Phillips, Steven Lambert Jr and Nicholas Jones are the remaining professionals in the 24-player field.
Augustus remains doubtful as his involvement could hinder his progress playing on various mini tours in the United States, including the Moonlight Tour where he is a multiple winner.
While the former Bermuda Open champion is keen to return home to compete, doing so could potentially delay his return to the United States while his decision also hinges on funding.
Meanwhile, among an equally as formidable amateur field are Damian Palanyandi, the Bermuda Stroke Play champion, and Will Haddrell, the newly crowned Bermuda Match Play champion.
Jevon Roberts, the former Bermuda Match Play champion, Fraser Hunt, Scott Barnett, Dillas and Leseur make up the rest of the amateur field.
Leseur was ruled out of last year’s local qualifying event because of school studies abroad.
The 36-hole strokeplay event will be held at Port Royal on October 12 and 13.
After the field size was expanded from 120 to 132, tournament officials announced that four Bermudian golfers will be offered qualification spots for the championship, which will be played from October 28 to 31.
Prize money this year has been increased from $4 million to $6.5 million.