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Will Haddrell prepares to defend Bermuda Amateur Stroke Play title

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Will Haddrell (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Will Haddrell refuses to burden himself with expectations as he starts the defence of his Bermuda Amateur Men’s Stroke Play Championship title at Port Royal Golf Course today.

Rather than invite pressure, the 40-year-old intends instead to just have fun.

“I have no real expectations and I’m just looking to have some fun,” Haddrell told The Royal Gazette.

“I think at times we've all taken this game too seriously and it never really works out too well. So I’m looking forward to the challenge and getting out to Port Royal and hopefully everyone plays well.”

Haddrell, who captured his fifth title last year, has his work cut out among one of the strongest fields in recent memory featuring past champions Jarryd Dillas and Damian Palanyandi, Jevon Roberts, teenager Oliver Betschart and Kenny Leseur.

“I think we have a very strong field this year, which is good,” Haddrell said.

“We’ve got some of the older players, which I consider myself now, back playing and also the young guys too, which is good to see.

“I haven't played much tournament golf this year due to work and family commitments but I am looking forward to it and always give it a go. I always enjoy competition so we will see what the week brings.”

Jarryd Dillas (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Like Haddrell, three-times winner Dillas has also played little competitive golf recently.

“No real expectations heading into tomorrow,” said Dillas, who finished runner-up last year.

“My game is in decent enough shape, but I’ve played very little tournament golf since January, so I’m curious to see how my body holds up and if I can keep my concentration levels high throughout.

“The field looks incredibly strong so if the weather forecast holds I would expect to see some low scores over the three days.

“Hopefully I’ll be there or thereabouts come Sunday, and then you never know what can happen over those closing holes at Port Royal.”

Damian Palanyandi (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Palanyandi, who captured a first championship in 2021, is also looking forward to teeing off among the formidable field.

“I’m excited to be playing in the Amateur Stroke Play,” he said.

“The event is shaping up to be very competitive given the depth of the field, pristine weather forecast and modest winds this weekend.

“I wish all the players the best.”

Looking to capture their first titles is the trio of Betschart, Roberts and Leseur.

Oliver Betschart (File photograph)

Betschart, who finished third last year, has spent the past several days reacclimatising to the conditions at Port Royal after returning from training and playing competitively in Switzerland.

“I just got back last weekend and played the course now three times, so I am feeling comfortable but still getting used to the conditions a little bit,” Betschart said.

“I am definitely feeling good about my golf game at the moment and really looking forward to some great competition this weekend.

“It should be an amazing event and I wish everybody the best of luck.”

Roberts is looking forward to the challenge of pitting his skills against the Island’s top amateurs.

Jevon Roberts (File photograph)

“A really strong field and one of the best I've seen in a long time,” he said. “It's really exciting to see some of our best coming out to play arguably our biggest event of the year. Whoever wins will have to play some good golf.”

Leseur is in good form and is optimistic about his chances.

Kenny Leseur (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

“I feel good going into the event and looking to win it for the first time,” he said.

The Butler University student is back home for the summer and is fresh off chalking up a first victory on the Gosling’s Moongate Tour this month.

“I have been playing well so far since I’ve been back, so I hope to continue that this weekend,” he added.

Action gets under way at Port Royal at noon today.

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Published June 21, 2024 at 9:58 am (Updated June 21, 2024 at 9:58 am)

Will Haddrell prepares to defend Bermuda Amateur Stroke Play title

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