Keen tussle expected for Rukmini Kodagoda Trophy

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The Sri Lanka Junior Match-Play Golf Championship will tee off this year on 9 August at the Royal Colombo Golf Club (RCGC) after a 2-year break for Covid.

This prestigious junior event is being sponsored by P&S Bakers, the family company of the late Rukmini Kodagoda, in her honour.

Rukmini won the Sri Lanka Amateur Championship in 1979 and several other club tournaments. Ruki, as she was popularly known, established herself as one of Sri Lanka’s talented sportswomen, having won national titles and represented Sri Lanka in both tennis and golf.

In tennis she won the national doubles and mixed doubles titles partnering top players during her era, such as Ranjani Jayasuriya, Wendy Molligoda and Bernard Pinto, on several occasions. She also held the prestigious position of Chairman, Sri Lanka Ladies Golf Union in 1990 and 1991 and Captain of the Ladies Section of the RCGC.

“I look forward to the tournament which is a fitting tribute to an inspiring lady who has achieved national colours in two sports, and beyond sports an inspiring personality to us all, and had the fortune of associating and learning from such a large-hearted lady,” said Niloo Jayatilake, Member, Sri Lanka Golf Union & Chairperson, Junior Sub Committee.

This tournament follows a different format. The junior golfers will play a qualifying round and thereafter continue to play in a format like the British Amateur Championship, the oldest Match-play event in the world established 1881, and followed by the Ceylon Amateur Golf Championship, the second oldest Match-play Championship in the world.

The inaugural Championship was played in 2014, with Prashan Pieris winning the title. The tournament was last held in 2019 and was won by Taniya Balasuriya (girls’ division) and S. Dhuwarhan (boys’). Both players are over aged now, and we are likely to see new talent emerge this year.  

Players will compete in four Age Categories – Gold Division (15 -18 years), Silver (12-14 years), Bronze (10-11 Years) and Copper (9 years & under).

The overall winner will carry away the Rukmini Kodagoda Challenge Trophy in the boys’ and girls’ categories.

The tournament format will be based on a qualifying stroke play round for each age category, with the best eight qualifying scores going on to play in the match play knock out finals to determine the Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper Division winners. However, girls in the Gold & Silver Division and the boys in the Gold categories will be eligible to vie for the Rukmini Kodagoda Trophy and the title of Junior Boys Champion and Junior Girls Champion respectively.

“P & S Bakers is delighted once again to support Sri Lanka Golf, and especially junior golf, by creating a competitive platform for the juniors to show their mark. Success in tournaments of this nature will be the stepping stone for international competition,” said Gihan Perera, Managing Director of P & S.