25th Tournament of Champions moved to 2021


In this file photo, J.J. Atalig takes his time before going for a shot during the second and final round of last year’s Governor’s Tournament of Champions at the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort. (Saipan Tribune)

The silver anniversary of the Governor’s Tournament of Champions has been pushed back to next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 25th edition of the biggest golf tournament in the CNMI was supposed to take place last Aug. 8 and 9 on the west and east courses of the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort.

“The TOC board of directors and organizing committee has decided to postpone the 25th Governor’s Tournament of Champions this year and moved it to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will set a new date later by year end 2020,” TOC tournament director Ben Babauta said.

Guam’s Louie Sunga places the ball on the greens. (Saipan Tribune)

First held in 1996, TOC is held annually to raise funds for beautification projects in the CNMI, particularly the sites that are frequented by tourists. For more than two decades, the tournament, its sponsors, and the people who organized the competition, have supported projects that enhanced tourist spots here, including the Paseo de Marianas, Port to Pathway, and Garapan Street Revitalization Project–Coral Tree Avenue, the Gualo Rai/Navy Hill intersections, north and south medians, Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport, and Mt. Tapochao’s landscape/railings among others.

On the sports side, the tournament has attracted players across Asia and became a testing ground for local golfers who went on to represent the CNMI in various regional and international tournaments. Among the notable Commonwealth players in the TOC are Tony Satur, Joe “Kamikaze” Camacho, Jeff Taylor, J.J. Atalig, CNMI Attorney General Edward Manibusan, and the late Jess Wabol.

Last year, TOC’s centerpiece Championship Flight was won by Guam’s Louis Sunga for his fifth victory in the competition. Camacho also triumphed in the 2019 edition of the event that drew more than 200 golfers after ruling the Senior Flight, while other top finishers were Henry Liang (A Flight), Joel Hocog (B Flight), Suryong Kim (C Flight), Nick Sablan (Super Seniors), Chang Hee Yoo (Ladies Low Gross), and Mio Kim (Ladies Low Net).

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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