This year too and for the 11th consecutive year, Prima Ceylon continues its sponsorship of the most prestigious event in the junior golf calendar, the Sri Lanka Junior Open. With more than a decade of magnanimous sponsorship this generous support by Prima Ceylon is ample testimony to its continued commitment to promoting junior golf in the country in partnership with the national body for golf in the country the Sri Lanka Golf Union.
The Sri Lanka Junior Open Golf Championship scheduled to be played between the 2nd – 4th January at the RCGC remains the acid test for juniors who are also required to make it through gruelling Regional Junior Opens also sponsored by Prima Ceylon as well as a number of club level tournaments throughout the year. The Sri Lanka Junior Open is thus the established benchmark for national rankings of junior golf. The winner of the Sri Lanka Junior Open will be crowned the National Junior Champion in both boys and girls’ categories.
The committed sponsorship of junior golf by Prima has been invaluable to the Sri Lanka Golf Union in promoting the sport island wide and this year increased participation is expected especially from the Kandy, Anuradhapura and Nuwara Eliya regions. The popularity of the sport is seen to be growing mainly due to the focused outreach programs carried out by Sri Lanka Golf to propagate the sport at the grassroots. This initiative was the brainchild of the Junior Sub Committee of Sri Lanka Golf as a means to identify the nations young golf talent with a view to nurturing and developing them for future national and international representation.
This event will once again be conducted according to four age group categories as follows; 15-18 years (Gold Division), 12-14 years (Silver Division), 10 -11 years (Bronze Division) and 9 years and under (Copper Division). The overall winner over the 18hole events will be declared the Sri Lanka Junior National Golf Champion (Boys/Girls) for the year 2018.
Reigning Junior Champion Vinod Weerasinghe who is currently in the USA is expected to return to the island in time to defend his title. Vinod, the top ranked junior has already won this prestigious event twice before and with the ongoing professional coaching he is receiving overseas is very heavily tipped to carry the title this year as well. However, a quartet of young golfing talent namely the juniors S. Dhuwarshan, Aroon Aslam, Nirekh Tejwani and Yannik Kumara are expected to provide stiff competition to Vinod this year provided these talented youngsters steady their temperament and are able to hold their nerve under pressure.
In the girls category top junior golfers Taniya Balasuriya and Kayla Perera are once again expected to fight tooth and nail for the title. In this, the girls’ category, it is extremely heartening to see such naturally gifted players like Balasuriya and Perera emerge onto the local golfing landscape. Still in their mid -teens, the duo have enormous potential to go the full distance and evoke memories of past Sri Lankan greats such as Thuhashini Selvaratnam and Tiru Fernando. Provided they stay focused, both have the ability to perform well in the international circuits as well.
In the more junior categories K. Danushan, Shanal Binuksha, Levon Niyarepola, Reshan Algama, Sherin Balasuriya, Kavindha Samarasekera M. Lidhurshan, M.S Sanjey and C. Dharaniyan from Nuwara Eliya have been identified as the emerging talent and this event should provide them a golden opportunity to showcase their skills and it is hoped the youngsters play to their fullest potential.