Ruben Avendano has a foot in the door of the Fil-Taga Golfers Association’s Ace of Aces Tournament after shooting the lowest net score of the first round held last Saturday at the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort east course.
The 62-year-old Pacific Home Appliances staff shot a 43 in the front nine including a birdie in hole No. 5 and another 43 in the back nine for a gross score of 86. Minus his 19 handicap, Avendano shot a net 67—the best score of the day and on top of the leaderboard coming into the second round.
“Weather was cloudy but no rain so it was a good breeze. I did not use my sand wedge only pitching even around the green. Maybe I was just lucky as I didn’t encounter a bunker the whole game. I got lucky in hole No. 5 with a birdie,” said the July monthly winner.
Ed Varias, Dan Ganacias, and Fred Cataluna fired identical 73s to finish second to Avendano in the opening round of the yearly championship.
Varias, the November ace, shot a gross of 92 (46-46) but thanks to his 19 handicap came away with a 73. February ace Ganacias came away with a pre-handicap score of 84 (43-41), while October ace Cataluna, a 1-handicapper, fired the day’s lowest gross score of 74 (39-35).
Avendano said he expects Cataluna and Ganacias to go all out in the second round of the Fil-Taga Ace of Aces Tournament.
“Freddie and Dan are the favorites. Their scores have been consistent all throughout. My score is up and down,” he said.
The rest of the Ace of Aces Tournament qualifiers’ net scores are the following: March ace Bae Hak Chon (74), December ace Bert Suda (74), January ace Henry Bautista (76), August ace Ronnie Santos (77), April ace Tony Cabrera (78), May ace William Retardo (78), June ace Lito Mendoza (78), and September ace Mike Cruz (78).
The second round of the Fil-Taga Ace of Aces Tournament will be held this Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Kingfisher Golf Links in Talafofo with an 11:30am tee off this time.
The second round of the yearend tourney will coincide with the club’s January Ace of the Month Tournament.
An awards ceremony for the Ace of Aces Tournament will be held starting 7pm on Jan. 22 at the Jang Gun Korean Restaurant across the former Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan along Royal Palm Avenue in Garapan.
Last year, Henry Bautista won the 2020 Fil-Taga Golfers Association’s Ace of Aces Tournament after finishing the two-round competition with a net 138.
The 16-handcapper shot a net 73 in the first round of play at the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort before carding a net 65 in the second and final round of the season-ending competition at the Kingfisher Golf Links. Hak Chon Bae came in second with a two-round total of net 143 with Ruben Avendano completing the Top 3 with a net 144.