PAPUA New Guinea will for the first time be represented in the Greg Norman Junior Masters golf championship by young golfers Shavina Maras from Lae and Brian Taikiri from Port Moresby.
The Greg Norman Junior Masters golf tournament is an annual event featuring the best under 18 golfers in Australia, who in the course of this event, will be moulded and developed to enter into senior ranking golf events.
The two teenagers will spend nine days at Tweed Head golf course from Dec 9-18 of which the first five days will be spent in orientation and clinics before the actual four-day tournament.
Maras and Taikiri were given their blessings from the PNG Golf Association (PGA) after successful campaigns at national and provincial events including the recent 4th PNG Games in Port Moresby, where their points were earned cumulatively. For 16-year-old Shavina, this “once in a lifetime opportunity” came after commitment and sacrifice especially in an arena where she was the baby among women golfers.
Apart from the PNG Open, East New Britain Open, Western Highlands Open, Madang, Huon and Morobe Open, she led Team Morobe Women’s golf team to defend its gold medal from 2007, in this year’s PNG Games.
The Brisbane event is the second international outing for her, after an impressive individual silver medal in the Arafura Games in May this year.
“Because of the age limit in this event, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me,” said the quiet-spoken Shavina, daughter of Retired Colonel Joseph Maras, an avid golfer and mentor.
She learnt to swing a club as soon as she could walk.
With the aim to develop herself further, she says she “will still continue in the game” after this 72 hole Australian event, which was initially a 54 hole event. She has also acknowledged the support from Port Moresby-based insurance firm Pacific MMI.
Her supportive parents have also made a special appeal to all parents to be more dedicated and supportive towards their children, who are involved especially in sports these days.
Pacific MMI Insurance has joined the PNGGA with a K10 000 funding to support the two junior golfers to represent PNG and on behalf of the PNGGA Mr Brazier thanked the General Manger of Pacific MMI Mr Wayne Dorgan for their kind support towards the extra international event.
Mr Dorgan said that the two will be competing in their own right and for PNG and was glad to assist as “It is through tournaments like these that children get the exposure,” he said.
The Junior Masters is now in its 19th year and is based on the U.S. Masters concept of playing by invitation only for well performed juniors to participate.
Both Shavina and Brian are expected to fly out of the country by today (Tuesday, 8th December 2009).