Samoa Golf Incorporated (S.G.I.) launched its Invest Samoa Open 2018 yesterday at the Faleata Golf Course.
The professional round of the three-day tournament starts on Wednesday and ends with a prize giving at Taumeasina Island Resort on Friday.
Today, the Pro-Am Round will give field a feel of the Faleata Golf Course greens ahead of the big tournament.
There are 50 professionals and 50 amateur golfers participating. Forty-eight professional players are from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
Three tournaments will take place at the same time; the Invest Samoa Open, which is open to all golf professionals, Invest Samoa seniors where professional golfers at ages 50 and above compete, and the Taula amateurs division for all top amateurs competing for a place to represent Samoa next year in the Pacific Games.
The professionals are playing for AUD$50,000 ($T95,575) and the seniors are playing for AUD$45,000 ($T86,018).
Deputy Chairman S.G.I., Fepuleai Patrick Fepuleai said: “We are trying to promote Samoa as a golfing destination for international tournaments and players, so that is where we have Samoa International Finance Authority (S.I.F.A.) through Invest Samoa as a major sponsor to help that vision.
“We promote the development of junior golfers as well, through our juniors competing in America next two weeks in the junior world.
“It is all part of promoting golf as a sport. But also in the hope of helping them in case they pursue it as a professional career,” he said.
Fepuleai also said in terms of the professional level of golf in Samoa, we only have a couple of professionals at the moment, it’s a tough life for professionals but in anything, you have to learn to crawl and walk first before you jump into that level.
Attorney General, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, said: “On behalf of the Chairman and Board of Directors of S.I.F.A., I extend our sincere congratulations to the S.G.I. and the Professionals Golfers Association (P.G.A. Australia) in staging this year’s Invest Samoa Open 2018. I also extend a warm welcome to all the participants in this year’s tournament.
“Invest Samoa is the promotional arm of the S.I.F.A. and as the major sponsor for this year’s tournament. We are pleased to see it go from strength to strength, gathering increasing support and interest with the Australasia region evident in the growing number of participants.
“The Samoa Open’s ability to bring world class golf events and athletes to our shores, as well as recognition of partnerships with various local companies and businesses is one of the reasons why Invest Samoa continues to sponsor this event. To that end we are appreciative of the support of fellow sponsors such as Taula Samoa,” said Lemalu.
“Further, we support S.G.I’s. goal in building the Samoa Open to qualify as a tier two event and we hope to see the event provide additional exposure for Samoa as a tourism destination,” Lemalu said.
A representative from P.G.A. Australia, David Barker, who is also the tournament Director, shared his view about this particular event.
“There are more than 100 golfers who will be participating for this tournament. I have been coming to Samoa for over 10 years to run the event and golf has really progressed and improved in that 10 years.
“The facilities for the event is in good condition and more suitable for that international level.
“S.G.I. partnered with P.G.A. Australia and so we come over to coordinate the event and its general ruling,” he said.
General Manager of Taula Samoa, Enele Westerlund explained: “We have been sponsoring the tournament for a few years in a row, and also I am a recent golf player so that is part of why we are here.
“But as we are well aware beer and sport go hand in hand, so it does make sense to support the sport as much as we can within our limitations. We all work together and come into an agreement and see what we can do to make this a successful event.
“We are really happy to do this on a regular basis, every year for golf in Samoa,” he said.
The professionals and amateurs also known as Pro Am will have a one-day tournament today, ending with its prize giving at Faleata Golf Course later in the evening. The sponsors for this event are S.I.F.A., Taula Samoa, Computer Services Limited (C.S.L.) and Signs Studio.