Pacific Games-bound J.J. Atalig topped the 2019 Joeten Memorial Golf Classic held last Saturday on the east course of the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort.
Atalig shot an even par 72, the same score Jin Feng Chun recorded, but the CNMI National Golf Team member won the tiebreak and the first place honors in the Championship Flight. Atalig broke the deadlock after saving par on the par-3, 188-yard No. 11, which was the second tiebreak hole. Chun bogeyed the deciding hole. Both Atalig and Chun bogeyed the first tiebreak hole—the par-4, 402-yard No. 7.
“Finally, I was on the winning end of the tiebreak. I finally got the break,” said Atalig, who had a couple of tiebreakers in previous tournaments, with the recent one against junior golfer Edward Lee during the 23rd Hyatt Regency Saipan Charity Golf Classic. Atalig and Lee logged identical gross scores of 3-over par 75, but the former had a bogey on the tiebreak hole No. 4 against the latter’s par.
“I’ve been struggling with my putting the fast few tournaments, so I am happy that in this competition, I was able to pull in through. I am relieved, especially now that we are less than a month away from the Pacific Games.
Atalig, along with Joe “Kamikaze” Camacho, Ryan Kim, Sebastian Camacho, and Marco Peter will represent the CNMI to the 2019 Pacific Games that will be held in Apia, Samoa from July 7 to 20.
Atalig was three strokes behind Chun after the first nine holes, 35-38, but managed to force the standoff after firing a 2-under par 34 in the last nine. Atalig made a birdie on the par-4, 362-yard No. 12 and an eagle on the par-4, 374-yard No. 16.
“Kamikaze” and Sebastian also joined last Saturday’s tournament and was entered, too in the competitive Championship Flight. The older Camacho rounded out the Top 3 in the division after shooting a 73, while Sebastian posted an 86. Paul Kaipat (75), Uriah Perez (80), and Steven Aguon (87) completed the competitors list in the Championship Flight.
Meanwhile, winners in other divisions of the tournament organized to raise funds for the Joeten Daidai Foundation, will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Tuesday edition.