Central Florida’s Andrew Arft is the OpeningRound Leader of the Jamaica Open Golf Championship
Hanover, Jamaica – American Andrew Arft seized a three-shot lead after firing a superb six-under 66 in the first round of the 56th Jamaica Open Golf Championship at Tryall Club in Hanover, just outside Montego Bay, on Sunday.
Arft, who plays out of Casselberry, near Orlando, birdied six of the first eight holes, then offset two bogeys with two birdies on the back nine to take early control of the tournament on a hot and breezy day on Jamaica’s north-west coastline.
Josh Anderson, who finished runner-up here last year, was alone in second place after opening with a six-birdie 69. Meanwhile Americans Bradley Arrington, Logan Bryant and Dominic Piccirillo and Canada’s Alan Mclean, were tied for third after carding 71s.
Anderson, who plays out of Murietta, California, experienced a roller-coaster round. He rebounded from double bogey at the par-3 second with four birdies and a lone bogey in the next six holes.
He then eagled the par-5 11th before dropping shots at the 12th and 13th. However, the Californian finished his round in style with birdies at the par-4 17th and 18th holes where he hit his approach shots to just eight and six feet respectively.
“I’m satisfied,” said Anderson. “I got off to kind of a bad start but had some good stuff in the middle of the round and then a couple of bogeys after the turn before I finished well. It was a wild day, but I am happy with the round.”
Asked to assess the course conditions, Anderson replied: “It was challenging. The wind was a bit swirly but if you hit the ball well, it’s still scoreable. But you’ve got to get it in the fairway. I hit it in the rough a couple of times on the back nine and it was hard to advance the ball. But I am happy with the round – a great finish.”
Piccirillo, who plays out of Salem, South Carolina, got to 5-under with just three holes to play after reeling off seven birdies and a double-bogey at the par-3 12th. However, his round then faltered as he bogeyed the 16th and 17th before finishing off with a double at the last.
“I hit a couple of bad wedges,” said Piccirillo. “On 18, 16 and maybe another one on the front nine. But outside of that, I tried to keep it out of the rough. I made a couple of really good putts, and then I had two three-putts. But outside of that, I played pretty well. I tend to always finish a little rough on those last three holes. Of course, they are made to be very hard. But I played well outside of those holes.”
The best of the Jamaican professionals was Wesley Brown, who opened with a 73 to end the first round in a three-way tie for 10th place – matching American Patrick Cover, the defending champion and two-time winner here at Tryall.
Two very promising Jamaican amateurs had turned professional on the eve of the championship and they both experienced a rough first day in the paid ranks: Sebert Walker Jr. carded a 5-over 77 while Justin Burrowes struggled to an 82.