Former winners top shortened TOC E-mail
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Monday, 08 August 2016 15:34

Saipan Tribune

By Roselyn Monroyo


Championship Flight winner Daryl Poe, center, is joined in the photo by, from left, T Galleria general manager Milan Rabold, Miss Marianas Peachy Quitugua, Titan Imports’ John Antenorcruz, and DFS Saipan president Marian Aldan-Pierce during the awards ceremony for the 21st Annual Governor’s Tournament of Champions yesterday at the Laolao Bay Golf and Resort. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)Guam’s Daryl Poe and Saipan’s Noriko Togawa won their respective divisions in the shortened 21st Annual Governor’s Tournament of Champions.

Poe prevailed in the centerpiece Championship Flight of the annual tournament, which was forced to play only one round instead of the usual two at the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort due to heavy rains. The Guam golfer shot a 1-under par 71 on the east course yesterday to beat nine other players in his flight and claim his second TOC win. Poe ruled the 2013 edition of the most competitive golf tournament in the CNMI, edging Korean Geon Jun Lee in playoffs. He then bowed to Lee in 2014 and placed third last year.


“It was a tough win because there were a lot of strong and competitive junior golfers and veterans in my flight,” said Poe, who won by three strokes against 12-year-old and last year’s A Flight champion Dong Young Lee and former CNMI national team member Adam Hardwicke.

“As for the course condition, because it rained yesterday (Saturday), the greens are soft and it worked to my advantage a bit. However, the wind was strong and I had to be very smart in hitting my shots. I picked the right time and right target because I don’t want to take a lot of risks. I was not too aggressive on my approach and I took my time, hitting short, but sure shots,” said Poe, who clinched the win when he birdied the last two holes—the par 5, 545-yard No. 18 and par 4, 374-yard No. 1.

Before his back-to-back birdies, Poe, who had a 35 on the front nines and 36 on the back, was just ahead by a stroke against Hardwicke and Lee, who both saved pars on the last two holes to fall short in their title bids in the Championship Flight after ending up with similar scores of 2-over par 74. The junior golfer went on to win the scorecard tiebreak to get the runner-up honors, while Hardwicke dropped to third place. Lee was also behind by a stroke against Poe after the first nine holes with the former logging an even par 36 before slowing down in the last with his 38. Hardwicke, on the other hand, fared better on the back, matching Poe’s even par 36 to make up for his 2-over 38 on the front.

“Honestly, I thought I was down after saving par on No. 17, so I told my group I had to birdie the last two to be safe and at least have a playoff,” said Poe.

Joining Poe, Lee, and Hardwicke in the Championship Flight were Franco Santos (75), Woo Seung kang (76), Brent Salas (76), J.J. Atalig (79), Feng Chun Jin (81), William Retardo (88), and Harry Nakamura (200).

Meanwhile, Noriko Togawa was the lone player in the Ladies Flight to score in the 70s with her 5-over 77 for a three-shot victory against 2015 champion Sun Suk Kim and her daughter Yuko. Kim and Yuko had similar gross scores of 8-over par 80, but the former won the tiebreak for second place.

Yesterday’s victory was Noriko 10th overall and just first since winning her ninth in the 2008 edition of the TOC. The older Togawa remains the winningest player (including the men’s field) in the TOC and she gains more cushion against former junior golfer Leina Kim, who had six titles (in 2007 and from 2010 to 2014) in the same competition.

Noriko shot a 1-over par 37 on the front nine to get a good lead against Kim (5-over 41), going into the last nine holes. The eventual champion then fired a 4-over par 40 on the back to keep her lead despite Kim’s better performance (39). Yuko had the best score in the last nine holes with her 2-over 38, but her 6-over 42 on the back cost her the win.

Besides the Ladies and Championship flights, there were four other divisions played in yesterday’s tournament and results will be reported later this week.

Last weekend’s one-round TOC was only the second time the annual event was shortened since its inception in 1996. In 2009, golfers played only a couple of holes in the first round before organizers called it a day due to rain. With the incomplete opening round, only the scores in the second were counted and incidentally, a golfer from Guam, too (Louie Sunga) won the Championship Flight, prevailing in a playoff against Korean Yongman Bae.

Last Updated on Monday, 19 September 2016 15:49

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