Some of the region’s best junior golfers recently returned to island after competing in the 2019 PAL-JGFP Junior Inter-club Championship.
Team Marianas, a 16-member squad made up of young athletes from Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, claimed a team championship, as well as recording respectable individual accomplishments.
The three-day tournament, incorporating a Stableford scoring system, took place from March 29 to 31 at the Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Cavite, Philippines.
Team Marianas, joining a field of more than 170 golfers, competed alongside athletes from Canada, Korea, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines.
“I am very proud of every member of our team,” said Mark Nanpei, Guam National Golf Federation director of junior golf. “The course conditions at Eagle Ridge (were) very challenging. All (of) our boys and girls … braved the conditions and teamed up well to represent our region. We look forward to returning next year.”
Team Marianas’ foursome, Danny Zheng, Ray Blas Jr., Tyanna Jacot, and Trey Jacot, competing in the 13-and-Under Founders Division, scored the region’s best team result. Placing first in the division, they finished with 248 points. Manila Southwoods, in second place, scored 342 points. Manila Orchards, stepping onto the podium in third place, finished with 339 points.
Nanpei, describing the opening round conditions as “brutal,” said that the weather was “very hot and all kids had to walk the course.”
Tayanna Jacot, winner of the 2018 10-and-Under Division, was unable to defend her title. Finishing third, with 132 points, she said that the course was more difficult than in 2018.
“The competition and course conditions (were) much tougher than last year,” she said. “I had my chances, but will only learn from this. I am very happy to help my team win.”
Grace Jacot, Tyanna’s mother, said that “Tyanna was unable to adjust to the greens as quickly as she hoped. Her long-game was good, setting up numerous eagle and birdie looks, but (was) only able to convert on a few.”
Chompansa Tawinsang, finishing atop the division with 157 points, placed first. Venice Tamsic, in second place, edged Jacot by a single point.
Saipan’s Edward Lee, competing in the Marquee Division Boys 15-18, placed second. His three-day 144 point total was two points off of Masaichi Otake in the top spot.
Otake, representing Manila Southwoods, shot a 146.
“I really wanted to win this one,” Lee said. “I am still satisfied … that I met my goal of finishing in the top three. I hope to come back next year to win the individual honor and to place in the team competition.”
Guam’s Alan Gutierrez, 6, playing in his first-ever off-island competition, finished in third place.
“This was as a good tournament for Alan to experience international competition,” said Alex Gutierrez, Alan’s father. “The lengthy course setup was new to Alan, but his chipping and putting allowed him to keep up with his peers. This will only make Alan better as he prepares for the Junior World in San Diego.”