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Dillas relishing Johnnie Walker title defence

Jarryd Dillas is set to defend his Johnnie Walker Classic title at Ocean View Golf Course today and tomorrow (File photograph)

Jarryd Dillas will rest his title on the line when he tees off in the opening round of the Johnnie Walker Classic at Ocean View Golf Course today.

The Mid Ocean Club amateur came from three shots back to pip 18-hole leader Camiko Smith and fellow professional Nick Jones by a solitary stroke to win the prestigious event for the first time last year.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of trying to defend the Johnnie Walker this weekend,” Dillas told The Royal Gazette. “It’s a great event, so fingers crossed the golf course makes it through the storm unscathed and we’re able to tee it up on Saturday morning.

“The fact that the tournament is so popular and the field is so competitive each year is a testament to Brian [head professional Brian Morris] and the entire team up at Ocean View.

“They all go above and beyond to make sure that everyone has a fun time, and it’s the reason why so many people have this event circled on their golfing calendars.”

Dillas heads into the 36-hole championship at the par-70 Devonshire layout with momentum having finished tied for second in the Moongate Tour Championship at Port Royal Golf Course the previous weekend.

He was also Bermuda’s top performer at this month’s World Amateur Team Championships in Paris, France, where he represented the island for a record ninth time at the biennial event.

“Looking ahead to the weekend, my game is in pretty good shape at the moment, so I hope to be in the mix come Sunday afternoon,” Dillas added.

“I think the standard of local golf has been gradually improving throughout the year, thanks in part to initiatives like the Moongate Tour.

“I’m expecting to see some low scores over the two days and for the winner to finish under par.

“It should be an exciting tournament, I hope as many people as possible come out to support Brian and the players.”

Others expected to be in the hunt for honours include Mid Ocean Club stablemate Chaka DeSilva, Moongate Tour Championship winner Smith, Jones, former European Tour player Kim Swan and the highly decorated Dwayne Pearman.

The field also features top amateurs Will Haddrell, who finished tied with Dillas at the Moongate Tour Championship, Damian Palanyandi and Ebonie Cox who is making history as the first woman to play in the event and will do so competing among the men.

Also back to defend their title in the senior division is Ocean View’s Allan Bradshaw, who also came from behind to win by four shots last year.

Club head professional Morris, who is also featuring among the field, confirmed that the tournament will go ahead as planned.

“Everyone was out here cleaning up [yesterday], so we are good to go,” he said. “The golf course is in great shape.

“Those guys have it right where we want to be.”

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Published September 24, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated September 24, 2022 at 8:12 am)

Dillas relishing Johnnie Walker title defence

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