The most historic golf encounter in Sri Lanka is back on course, with 132nd Sri Lanka Amateur Golf Championship set to tee off on the 5th of September at the Royal Colombo Golf Club.
The tournament will feature many overseas golfer, giving the locals a chance to experience international competition. Indian and Pakistan golfers have confirmed their participation while many lady golfers are expected to take part in the Ladies’ Open Championship.
Sri Lanka Amateur Golf Championship is a well-known tournament in Sri Lanka for its’ historic importance. Sri Lanka Amateur Golf Championship was initiated in 1891 and is the second oldest amateur golf championship in the world, after the British Amateur Golf Championship.
Sri Lanka’s first ever Amateur Golf Championship was played in Nuwara Eliya in March 1891, J.W. Govan of the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club (NEGC) was the first champion of this initiative. Later that year Colombo Golf Club conducted the second championship at Galle Face Green where J.N. Campbell who was also from NEGC defeated J.W. Govan and emerged victorious. Thereafter Govan won the next two championships played in April and October 1892, played alternatively in Nuwara Eliya and Galle Face Green in Colombo.
The three De Saram brothers – Beauchamp, Fred, and E.R. became the first Ceylonese to play in the 1912 championship which was interrupted by the First World War from 1915 to 1919. Then from 1920 to 1939 Ceylonese golfers made a greater impact in the championship, when Timothy De Silva won the title as the first Sri Lankan in 1923. Bertie E. Weerasinghe won in 1929 becoming the second Sri Lankan to win the Ceylon Amateur. The championship was disrupted again by the Second World War from 1940 to 1945 and was resumed in 1946 and since then it has had an unbroken run. After the Second World War period from 1946 to 1963, the legendary Pin Fernando made his mark amongst the British amateur golfers by winning the championship on nine occasions, with C. Upali Senanayake the only other Ceylonese to win in 1963.
1964 was a new beginning for the championship, with most of the British golfers having left Ceylon, and official national teams from India and Pakistan competing in the event for the first time and have continued to do so, with additional teams from Bangladesh, and Thailand who made their annual appearances.
Legendary Pin Fernando won the title on a record eleven occasions while K. Nandasena Perera burst on the scene in 1983 and captured the renamed Sri Lanka Amateur Golf Championship consecutively for three years in 1988, 89, and 90, All-India Amateur Golf Championship twice and he was also Silver Medalist at the Beijing Asian Games in 1990.
“This year we expect the tournament to be a nail-biting encounter as top golfers facing each other for the title. PM Roshan Ranasinghe, Minister of Sports will grace the occasion as Chief Guest and will give away the major awards on the 10th of September”, said Michael Perera Magala President of Sri Lanka Golf.