The biggest professional golf event in Samoa was officially launched yesterday, at the Royal Samoa Country Club, Fagali’i.
During the next few days, nearly 60 P.G.A professionals from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, U.S.A and Samoa will go head to head for the S.I.F.A Samoa Open and S.I.F.A Samoa Senior Open.
It’s the 11th year since the Samoa Golf Incorporated initiated the plan to host the P.G.A (Professional Golfers Association) tournament to develop golf and promote Samoa as a golfing destination.
A keen golfer, Pastor Samoa Unoi, of Peace Chapel, blessed the tournament.
“In sports we find that there are rules and regulations that are to be followed in order to be successful,” said Pastor Unoi. “One of the good things I like about golf is that this is the only sport that will be played in heaven. I encourage people to play golf because it is a sport that helps build up your character. One professional golfer said, “If you wish to hide your character, don’t play golf, because golf is a game of character.
“Therefore, be integral and be honest and play by the rules.”
Fepuleai Patrick Fepulai, the Deputy Chairman of S.G.I, spoke about the importance of the tournament.
“Our primary focus was to promote and develop golf in Samoa,” he said.
“We’ve had humble beginnings but we have continued to grow over the years. We’re always looking at ways to improve. Two years ago, we tried something new which was the Seniors Open which took place the same time as the Open Championship.”
Another benefit of this tournament is that it brings in a lot of people from overseas with their families to participate.
“This is something our government is trying to promote, to bring more international events here in Samoa,” he said.
Fepulea’i acknowledged the sponsor and support of S.I.F.A who has been the naming sponsor of the tournament since its inception.
P.G.A Australia Senior State Manger, David Barker outlined the importance of the event and the development of local players.
“The S.I.F.A Samoa Open and Samoa Senior Open are extremely important events and an integral part of growing and developing golf within in the region,” he said.
“The tournament provides opportunities for local amateurs and professionals to compete in an internationally recognised tournament. And each year, we see that the tournament continues to grow and improve.”
The tournament also features a Pro-Am where junior golfers will get the opportunity to learn from the Professionals from P.G.A on the different rules of golf and trainings happening today at the Royal Samoa Country Club, Fagali’i.
The first round of the tournament will commence on Thursday, with the prize giving to be held on Saturday night after the finals.
In the Open field is the 2012 S.I.F.A Samoa Open Champion, Pete Wilson along with Australian golfing great Andre Stolz, a former winner on the US P.G.A Tour and winner of the 2013 South Pacific Open in New Caledonia.
Local professionals will again benefit from the opportunity of competing including Malase Maifea who will enjoy the chance to play on home soil. Other feature players in this year’s Open field include New Zealand Professional Kieran Muir and last year’s Samoa Open runner-up RJ Carracella.
The $50,000 Open event runs alongside the $40,000 Senior Open event which will see a stellar field of Legends Professionals compete for the title.
The Senior Open will also see local professional Laauli Tui compete in the event against some of the great players on the E-Z-Go Legends Tour including two time winner and defending champion Richard Backwell.