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Weather forces postponement of Butterfield Bermuda Junior Championship

Oliver Betschart was scheduled to tee off at Port Royal this morning

Mother Nature, with her gale force winds, was the winner of the first round of the  Butterfield Bermuda Junior Championships, that were scheduled to start at Port Royal Golf Course on Saturday.

Tournament Director Adam Young made the easy call to postpone the first round, with conditions forecast to worsen over the course of the day.

“I believe it would have been unfair to the young players to send them out today,” said Young. “With conditions set to get worse I don’t think we would have got the round in.

“The PGA doesn’t allow players to go out in winds over 30 miles per hour and I wasn’t going to let them go out in these conditions.

However, Young stopped short of cancelling the round and shortening the tournament, saying: “All options are on the table for us to keep this as a 54-hole tournament.

Most of the players took the decision in stride, among them Bermuda’s lead junior Oliver Betschart, whose father Marcus noted it would have been better if his son had a bit more time with the clubs before the event.

“This past Christmas he just got a new set of clubs,” said the father. “Some Titleist clubs at the beginning of December. He’s sort of working those in, so it would have been nice if this tournament was a little later, but things are fitting in nice.”

In an age where power and length is the rage, Betschart is more concerned with the intricacies of the game, preferring accuracy to power.

“Here I’ve been hearing a lot of people saying how they can drive 300 yards, and that’s well and good, but if you don’t have the accuracy. If you can’t hit it straight and find the greens then it’s useless.

“Accuracy and the short game are more important than length. One of the advantages I have here is being able to be home schooled. My parents’ ability to drive me and send me to tournaments works to my advantage and I’m really grateful for what they do.”

What Betschart’s parents do is allow their son to combine as many local tournaments that he can, along with as many overseas ventures that they can afford to send him to, and that grant him access into.

This year shapes up as a busy one, with the teenager set to compete over the space of two continents on either side of the Atlantic, allowing for him to experience play under varying conditions, that demand varied techniques.

“Things are going pretty good,” explained the father. “We are starting to get a schedule together for this year.

“In February he’s going to Florida to play a couple of tournaments there and and in March he’ll play a couple of tournaments over in Texas where his coach, David Ogrin, has an academy,” shared the father.

“His coach works with him every week, whether it’s in person or by video conferencing. He is an ex-PGA player who has a golf according academy that he operates out of New Braunfels between Austin and San Antonio Texas.

“And then we're looking for other tournaments down the road, with Craig Brown of the junior tour as far as the opportunities there.

“He's possibly going to go to Europe and play some tournaments over there as well, because we are also looking at some opportunities in Switzerland. Last year we played over there in Switzerland as well as in Scotland. It’s all about getting him into some of these bigger, more competitive junior tournaments. Like this one here in Bermuda, it's great with regard to the AGJA coming here and this is the first major junior tournament that’s been here. It's important that we got the opportunity to play in more of these.”

Senior points his son to having a level of maturity and focus beyond his age, a factor he will need if he is able to make to the elite level necessary to make it onto the hallowed PGA tour.

“He's aware of what he has to do,” said the father. “So now that has reached 14, he’s started to get involved with the physical training. He’s growing a lot. Just this past year he’s probably grown about six inches and gained more strength.

“Professional golf is the ultimate girl, but of course it's only very few that actually get to that point of playing on the elite tours, but he does have a talent and he’s striving for that. He practices everyday, puts in the time and he’s committed.

“As long as as he likes what he’s doing and he’s committed he can go a long way, it’s up to him. He has a great mental attitude and he has a good coach.”

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Published January 14, 2023 at 3:31 pm (Updated January 14, 2023 at 3:31 pm)

Weather forces postponement of Butterfield Bermuda Junior Championship

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