– Over 70 golfers confirmed for the two-day tournamentOVER 70 golfers from Guyana and other parts of the world, will converge at the Lusignan Golf Club (LGC) this week-end vying for top prizes at the Guyana Open Golf tournament.The Guyana Open tournament is considered the premier golf tournament in Guyana since it attracts the largest field of competitors.However, reigning Male and Female champions Avinash Persaud and Joaan Deo, have both signaled their intention in regaining their respective titles when the two-day tournament concludes tomorrow at the Lusignan Golf Course, East Coast Demerara.The familiarity with the Lusignan Golf Course could seem a factor that could facilitate repeat success for both golfers, but for the 27-year-old, Deo, defending her Guyana’s Open title will certainly take desire concentration, determination and the will to win.Speaking with this publication yesterday, Deo, who is the two-time Guyana Open Women’s Champion, said she is prepared to defend her title at all cost.“I don’t think it will be difficult to defend my title, but it will certainly take desire concentration, determination and the will to win, but I’m prepared to defend and ready to repeat,” she disclosed.Christine SukhramUndoubtedly one of the best golfers locally, Deo is fully aware of the challenges she is expected to face from Christine Sukhram and last year’s second place finisher. Shaunella Webster.However, Deo explained that once she stays focus throughout the 36 holes over the two days and bring her best golf, she is positive in securing good scores, despite the change of format.“I think it will be a minor setback. However, I have been playing well for the past few weeks. I have won the last two tournaments out of the three that I participated in, with low net scores and decent gross scores. I had an 83 on Sunday in the inaugural Silica Sandport Golf Tournament which is pretty much in contention for the gross championship this weekend.Apart from last weekend’s tournament, I have played a few rounds, trying to work on my approach shots, some shots that needs improving. Basically putting in some practice before the big event that will certainly prepared me for the weekend,” Deo pointed out.According to Vice-President of the Lusignan Golf Club, Brian Hackett, the ladies format will be back to the original format where they play on the best gross for the championship, and play on best net for individual prizes.On the other hand, the 26-year-old, Persaud, who enjoys the sport to its fullest, claimed his seventh Guyana Open title last year and intends to reach the same heights again, but acknowledged that the task will not be that easy.Despite the challenges he anticipates, Persaud remains optimistic. He pointed out during the exclusive interview, that the venue is his home turf, adding that once he does the basics, and plays within his game limits, success will come his way.This year’s activities will also include special participation in an inaugural Guyana Open Putting Contest which will see Queen’s College, Bishops’ High and St. Roses High competing for the title.Joaan DeoThe LGC is anticipating a large turnout of competitors on the nine-hole course, with keen rivalry in the Championship Flight (0-9 handicap), B Flight (10-18), C Flight (19-28) and Ladies Flight.Tee-off time is 06:00hrs each day. Admission is free, and ‘early-bird’ fans will receive a free raffle ticket to win one of several gate prizes, compliments of the sponsors. To be eligible, fans must be in before 14:00hrs each day.Another initiative taken by the LGC, will see the Guyana Motor Racing Club displaying several race cars for fans to inspect and take close-up photographs.Meanwhile, Minister of Social Cohesion, with responsibility of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr.George Norton is expected to declare the tournament open.