Saturday 28 March, 2020

William Knibbs holds off Rocco Lopez to win SMS Golf Classic

William Knibb (centre) displays his trophy after winning the SMS Golf Classic at the Caymanas Golf Club last weekend. At left is Sean Morris, who finished third, while runner-up Rocco Lopez is at right.

William Knibb (centre) displays his trophy after winning the SMS Golf Classic at the Caymanas Golf Club last weekend. At left is Sean Morris, who finished third, while runner-up Rocco Lopez is at right.

William Knibbs held his nerve to stave off stiff competition from 15-year-old Rocco Lopez on his way to a one-stroke victory at the Scientific & Medical Supplies (SMS) Golf Classic at the Caymanas Golf Club last weekend.

Knibbs had shot a three-under-par score of 69 on day one to enjoy a three-stroke lead over Robert Chin who shot an even-par 72.

Day two's shotgun start saw Knibbs paired with Rocco Lopez (74) and Sean Morris (75), the defending champion.

However, Knibbs struggled to a seven-over-par 79 that included six bogeys, a triple bogey and just two birdies to end the tournament on 148.  Lopez, meanwhile, posted a three-over-par 75 to close on 149 for second place.

Morris shot an 80 to end on 155 and the third spot.

Knibbs dedicated the win to a close friend who died recently.

"First and foremost, I would like to dedicate this victory to my friend Luke Therrien, he passed away last month, very unfortunate," he said.

"Today was tough.  I got off to a really good start and I was thinking ‘smooth sailing ahead’ and I made an unfortunate triple on number six and then all of a sudden it became really tough.

“I had a bit of a cushion luckily and then Rocco start making a charge on the back nine so it was just a big grind.  I am just so happy that I was able to hold out for the victory."

Knibbs also praised Lopez highly.

"Rocco is a very talented young player.  He's won his age group in the Caribbean  Junior Championships,” Knibbs said.

“I was telling him earlier today that his game has improved significantly over the last couple of months and I expect to see this kind of performance later on in the year in the Hoerman Cup trials.  I feel like he could be somebody that could make a big contribution to our team."

The runner-up said he gave it his all and almost managed to pull off an unlikely victory.

"I know William is very good and he practices hard so I just came out here and tried to do my best.  I shot two over so I was five back and came in today trying to give my all. The conditions were harder than yesterday (Saturday) and I almost had him but he took it on the last hole."

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: