The Saipan Golfers Association’s July Ace Tournament turned out to be the toughest so far this season, as three players ended up tied for the lead after last Sunday’s competition at the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort.
Nick Sablan, Steve Balakrishna, and Alex Tudela logged identical net scores of 69 on the east course of the Kagman facility. Sablan managed to win the tiebreak via the scorecard playoffs, but since he already took the March Ace, Balakrishna got the July Ace, nosing out Tudela, also through the scorecard playoffs.
The 11-handicapper Balakrishna played consistently in last weekend’s tournament after shotting 40s on the front and back nines for a gross 80 and net 69. Tudela is also an 11 handicapper and matched Balakrishna’s net and gross scores after recording 41 in the first nine holes and 39 in the last. The 5-handicapper Sablan, on the other hand, was in his usual top form after delivering an even par 36 on the front nine and 2-over par 38 on the back for a gross 74.
With Balakrishna getting the July Ace, he also earned a spot on the SGA Ace of Aces (club championship) joining Sablan, Attorney General Edward Manibusan (January), Jung Eun Teack (February), Juan “Pan” Guerrero (April), Das Krishnan (May), and House vice speaker Larry Deleon Guerrero (June).
Balakrishna’s July Ace victory was highlighted by a closest to the pin shot on the par-3, 122-yard hole No. 15. Sablan also had a closest to the pin shot—the longer par-3 hole No. 11 (170 yards). The two other closest to the pin contests were won by Krishnan, who hit the KP on the 150-yard No. 4 and 139-yard No. 6.
The May Ace winner also made a closest to the pin drive on the par-5 and longest hole—the 502-yard No. 18. Guerrero matched Krishnan’s longest drive feat on the par-4, 346-yard hole No. 9.
Meanwhile, SGA will continue to hold make-up tournaments with the August Ace event scheduled for this Sunday, also at the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort. The association is catching up with its monthly competitions after missing several tournaments early this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tee time for this weekend’s event is 9am, while show time is at 8:30am.