Golfers rush in for 2022 Lautoka Open prize

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Lautoka Golf Club president Chong Lee, middle, with club executive Raymond Singh, right, and a club member. They will be part of the Shop N Save Lautoka Open golf tournament this weekend. Picture: MAIKA KASAMI/SUPPLIED

The cream of Fijian golfers head to Lautoka City this weekend to compete in one of Fiji’s oldest and most lucrative annual golf tournaments.

The anticipation among local golfers, and some from abroad, has seen a battle royal building up for Saturday’s 91st edition of the Shop N Save-sponsored Lautoka Open golf championship.

The 18 holes stroke Pro-Am event on the scenic golf links overlooking the sugar City, the Yasawa and Mamanuca Groups, will see head to head clashes in the amateur and professional categories.

James Pridgeon is the defending champion in the amateur division after creating history as the first golfer from Pacific Harbour to win the prestigious national event in last year’s 90th edition.

Pridgeon will face stiff competition from current No.1 Abid Hussein of Nadi, past winners Isei Waqa of Suva, LGC’s James Krishna and Christchurch, NZ-based former national rep and seven times consecutive winner of the Ba Open championship, Anuresh Chandra.

Likewise, in the professional category, home course favourite Roneel is eager to defend his title against frontrunner, Tomasi Tuivuna, who has been in exceptional form this season.

Meanwhile, solid performances are expected from Denarau trio Zoheer Ahmed, Amitesh Chandra and Bill Sorowale.

Fiji Professional Golf Association president Vikrant Chandra is keen to hoist the Ba flag alongside Waisiki Vati of Pacific Harbour.

Evergreen Mahmood Buksh and Nemani Ratumaiyale are the two active ‘young’ veterans vying for top honours.

Tournament co-ordinator and Shop N Save Supermarket family representative Sanjay Prasad has once again endorsed that Neeshil Deo and Babu Rattan Deo is fully backing the 91st Lautoka Open with the Professionals cashing on $5000 cash prize purse, with the amateurs competing for prizes worth of $3000.

“Sublimated Shop N Save Supermarket Tee-shirts and Lovo lunch is on the cards alongside the after match cocktails,” he said.

LGC president Chong Lee has confirmed around 100 entries for the grand sponsorship towards LGC.

“The club will not be able to entertain late entries because of no daylight saving,” Lee said.

Those wishing to participate can contact Chong Lee on 9924522, Amitesh Chandra – 9904250, Roneel Prakash – 9293148, or Raymond Singh – 9027480.