With a packed international competition calendar, 15-year-old Father Duenas Memorial School golf prodigy Markus Nanpei’s summer is off to a great start. In early July, he and his father, Mark Nanpei, left island to compete in a series of stateside regional and national tournaments.
At the Peggy Dodds Sacramento City Junior Championships, a Junior Golf Association of Northern California regional tournament that took place July 8-9, the fiery Friar posted a fifth-place finish.
“I felt good,” Markus Nanpei said. … “I expected to play pretty good, and I feel like I lived up to those expectations.”
On the Haggin Oaks Mackenzie course, amid long fairways, Markus Nanpei was strong from the tees.
“I felt like I was going to hit pretty far and straight, and I felt comfortable,” he said.
He took fifth place out of 30, that was pretty good, said Mark Nanpei, the Guam National Golf Federation’s director of junior golf, and the young golfer’s father.
All the best players in that area played in this tournament, he added.
“He’s playing against some good players, so to get fifth place, a top five finish is big for us because that’s the first time he’s been able to do that in any tournament in the United States,” Mark Nanpei said.
The following week, at the American Junior Golf Association Preview at Bentwater in Montgomery, Texas, Markus Nanpei headed into Round 2 of the two-day tournament in a familiar fifth position. After struggling with a suspected bout of food poisoning, he finished in a respectable tie for 24th place out of 57 participants.
This tournament featured the top level of golfers in the U.S., Mark Nanpei said.
“You have to get in by having a certain amount of stars,” he said.
In Round 1, “his drive was on,” added Mark Nenpei, sharing that his son finished Day One at 1 under par. “He left some strokes out there. If he had been putting a little better, he could have gone even lower.”
Next, Markus Nanpei will play in the AJGA Junior All-Star, a qualification tournament presented by Bryan College Station Sports & Events at Texas A&M University. The 18-hole, one-day tournament, held at College Station, Texas, will draw 78 competitors from throughout the nation.
“It’s kind of important for us,” Mark Nanpei said. “Our goal has been to try to play college golf and, in order to do that, you’ve got to come to the states and play with the competition.”
After a tour stop in Nashville, Tennessee, the Nanpeis will join four other men’s national team golfers and compete in the 2020 High School National Golf Invitational in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
The HSNGI, which will draw student-athletes from 49 states and Guam, takes place Aug. 3-5.
“This one is huge,” Mark Nanpei said. “This thing that is going to happen in Pinehurst is a one-of-a-kind tournament for Guam. …
“I’ve been on Guam since 1989 and we’ve never had a high school team play against state champions from The United States of America. … "
At Pinehurst, Markus Nanpei, Anton Lacson, Ivan Sablan, Eduardo Terlaje and Jacob Fegurgur will try to put Guam on the map.
“We’re very excited for the opportunity,” Mark Nanpei said.
"I don’t think that everybody understands the magnitude of it," he added.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Markus Nanpei said. “I just want to play good and help out the team.”