OCHO RIOS: The 21st annual Baxter Travel Golf Tournament teed off yesterday at the Sandals Golf and Country Club, with over 80 Canadian travel agents and tour operators taking part. The two-day tournament, the third major international staged at the venue in recent times, is expected to deliver a shot in the arm for Jamaica as a golfing destination and also the nation’s tourism industry, as the agents and tour operators are heavily promoting the island. The United States and Latin American travel agents completed their events last month. “Jamaica stands to benefit significantly from hosting these influential travel agents,” said Maureen Barnes-Smith, director of sales and marketing, Unique Vacations, Canada. “Not only will they be here as part of the Sandals tournament, but they will tour the island, experience what Jamaica has to offer and when they go back promote and sell Jamaica,” Barnes-Smith added. She pointed to the significance of the Canadian market which has experienced growth in the past several years and is of vital importance to the island. Organisers were pleased with the large number of entries to the Baxter Event and since its inception each year has always been well attended. Eighteen four-man teams teed off in the scramble format. Yesterday, the 18-hole event was spiced up with the ‘Longest Drive’ and ‘Closest to the Pin’ contests. Tee off is slated for 8:30 a.m. for today’s second and final day, while the awards ceremony at the Sandals Ochi Beach Resort will begin at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, to be followed an hour later by dinner. “Traditionally we have always had some fun and also riveting action on the golf course and this year promises to be no less impressive,” noted Miguel Arthurs, general manager, Sandals Golf & Country Club.