Three Pacific Games golf teams are competing in the Samoa Open this week as a warm-up for Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games.
New Caledonia and American Samoa teams are taking part at Fagalii Golf Course, Apia, with the Samoan squad also competing as its final trial before selections are made for the Games.
The Samoa Open, played over three days, sees professional and seniors compete for a total of AUD$95,000 in prize money. It is also a test event for the Pacific Games.
With ten days before the Games open, David Barker, the technical delegate for Golf, said the course has already improved in the past week, with more regular mowing to make for faster greens.
The competition at the Games will be “extremely tight”, David said. “They are all very talented amateurs.”
David said watching golf at the Games will be “a once-in-a-lifetime experience”, and encouraged locals to get along to see the action from 10-13 July.
He has been working with Samoa Golf for almost 20 years in hosting events, but this will be his first Pacific Games. The PGA also runs tournaments in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tahiti and New Caledonia.
“There’s a lot of work to do in the week leading up to the Games,” he said, mainly involving training the volunteers who will contribute so much to the smooth-running of the event.
There will also be training for caddies so that they are “up to the right level,” he said.
Developing golf in Samoa is one of the objectives of holding events here, with the other being boosting international exposure, including tourism, for the country.
The Sport Competition Manager, Sam Sesega, said the course condition will be up to international standards. “We’ve had no complaints from the professionals here this week. This is an event that is right up there.”
The Samoa Open has about 105 players, nine more than the 96 who will compete at the Games.