Michael Sims aiming to keep up perfect record in Local Qualifiers
Michael Sims will be keen to extend an impressive streak on a golf course he regards as his “second home”.
The 43-year-old professional is gunning for a fourth successive appearance at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship appearance this year, and will again feature among the field vying for a spot in the PGA Tour event in the 36-hole Local Qualifier at Port Royal Golf Course next week.
“My game feels great and I'm always excited to come home, play and just look forward to the opportunity,” Sims told The Royal Gazette. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us and I am stoked to be going back.
“Port Royal is my second home. Jason Jackson [head groundsman], the grounds crew, the staff in the pro shop and everybody up there are like family to me. They always take very good care of me and are very supportive no matter what, so I am just grateful again to have this opportunity.
“I know they have been working hard all year and it shows. Port Royal is always in the best shape it can be in come tournament time, which is awesome.”
Sims won last year’s qualifier at the par-71 Southampton course by a solitary shot over defending champion and fellow professional Camiko Smith, who qualified for the main event for the second straight year.
Professional Chaka DeSilva and amateur Damian Palanyandi clinched the remaining two spots to make their Bermuda Championship debut.
Brian Morris, the Ocean View Golf Club head professional, also made his debut in the event after being granted a sponsor’s exemption to appear.
Although Sims said it would be “nice” to qualify for the main event for the fourth straight year, he is not looking beyond next week’s Local Qualifier, which takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“First thing first, I have to qualify for this thing,” he said. “It would be nice to qualify and we can talk other things after that, but it’s always in the back of my mind as the year is going on, and I am just bracing for the opportunity.”
Three qualifying spots will be up for grabs to compete in the Bermuda Championship at the Local Qualifier, which is open to professionals and amateurs.
Kim Swan, former European Tour professional and chairman of the Port Royal Golf Course Board of Trustees, is the first local player confirmed for the big event after accepting the first of four sponsor exemptions.
In addition to the three qualifying spots, those who place fourth, fifth and sixth will be granted exemption spots into the APGA Championship, which will also be held at Port Royal on October 11 and 12.
Those players will also be reserve alternatives for the Bermuda Championship field, while those who finish seventh, eighth and ninth will be reserve alternatives for the APGA Championship.
“I think that is really awesome,” Sims said. “I won’t be on the island for that. But I think it would be cool for the top six to qualify for the tournament because it is good practice going into the PGA tournament as well.
“It is very exciting times for Bermuda golf and this is what the game is all about. It’s about growing it and seeing where it can take you.”
Sims also believes the inaugural Moongate Tour is beneficial to the island’s players as it provides them with the opportunity to fine tune their game in the build-up to the big events.
“I think that is awesome and does something to help us out,” Sims said. “It has been fun watching everyone battling out there so kudos to Chaka DeSilva and Andrew Trott-Francis [Moongate Tour co-founders].”
Smith won the 36-hole Moongate Tour Championship at Port Royal and Palanyandi four of the seven medal events during the inaugural season.