‘CFoGA ran like a well-oiled machine’

Posted on Jul 07 2022

The CNMI National Golf Team poses with other teams that took part in the golf competition following the medal presentation of the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 at the Coral Ocean Resort golf course. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

After successfully hosting the sport of golf at the Coral Ocean Resort golf course during the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022, Commonwealth Federation of Golf Associations president Edward Manibusan compared it to a well-oiled machine and also commended its golf athletes.

With just six members of CFoGA along with countless volunteers, Coral Ocean Resort staff, and technical officials working together to bring a successful golf competition during the Games, Manibusan said that they all “worked so well. Everyone knew what [their] assignment was and it was just like a well-oiled machine.”

Along with praising all the hands that took part in organizing, planning, volunteering, and helping in any way to have a successful golf competition, Manibusan described the NMI athletes’ performance as “amazing.” 

Moreover, the people who worked on the event since preparation began last August “need to be recognized,” Manibusan said. When the Pacific Games Council decided to add the sport of golf in the program, they put the federation in charge of running the game, from “organizing the venue and every single detail of the game and I think it went flawlessly and smoothly,” said Manibusan.

Some of the people they recognized were CFoGA vice president and national golfer J.J. Atalig, who was “passionate about making sure that [golf] was a success.” They also recognized the Pacific Mini Games dedicated golf team that included Jack Diaz who served as the venue manager; Joey Dela Cruz, who served as the tournament director and “ran the competition part of the tournament,” and Erlinda Naputi who ran the volunteers and was “very vital to the operations.” 

It was “four days of competition and two days of practice, so that was a lot of time committed,” said Gerilyn Dela Cruz of CFoGA.

Golf had about 70 volunteers and some of them were out at the golf course as early as 5:30am and would leave as late as 3pm or 6pm.

Dela Cruz added that “it was really the whole team together that put on the entire tournament. No one could have done it by themselves, but I think the chemistry that was there with everybody really made the tournament the success that it was. We felt it and I think our visiting guests felt it.”
“With the support that we had from our federation, and the resources that we got from the Mini Games Organizing Committee, we were able to put on the tournament that we did. It was overwhelming, it was no easy task, but I think everybody put their 100% in.”

Additionally, even as the event has been over for more than a week now, the federation still gets feedback from the countries who came over to play golf. Dela Cruz said that she received an email from Samoa thanking the federation for a “wonderful tournament, the hospitality they received… They were really appreciative of everything and the environment we gave them.”

She said there was no negative feedback given and that everything was positive, “so we’re happy about that.”

Golf played during the Mini Games was “one of the biggest tournaments ever for golf that we’ve actually been involved [in]. We’ve run many different tournaments, but compared to the Mini Games, [those were] nothing. This was big,” added Manibusan.

Dominic Kieffer, a volunteer technical official for the golf tournament, said that despite some “minor hiccups,” someone was always able to pick up the slack and continue on running the competition smoothly.

Over on the athletes’ perspective, J.J. Atalig said that “the biggest factor there was playing in front of your home crowd, playing at home. Definitely, there was a lot of pressure that was placed on all the athletes that are from here because expectation is high. Overall, it was good.” 

Golf had about 52 athletes from the countries that participated and it was the only sport that required 50% of its athletes to be composed of the youth. The federation praised the performance of the NMI junior teams which included Joshua Atalig, Antonio Norita, and Joey Dela Cruz Jr. and the junior women Sorian Oh and the women’s golf gold medalist, Zhimin Jin.

The golf event during the Mini Games was sanctioned by the World Amateur Golf Rankings and featured the Mini Games’ winners. “Every single athlete that competed now has points toward their amateur rankings,” said Dela Cruz.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at leigh_gases@saipantribune.com.
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