Joe “Kamikaze” Camacho leaned on his strong first round showing to reclaim the Senior Flight crown in the 24th Governor’s Tournament of Champions held over the weekend at the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort.
Camacho fired a 1-under par 71 on the west course in the opening round last Saturday, matching the tournament’s best single score made by eventual Championship Flight winner Louie Sunga of Guam. Camacho, who topped the Senior Flight in 2017, but failed on his title defense bid last year after placing only third behind Hoon Joung Park and Freddie Cataluna, earned a seven-stoke lead over Rene Batallones (78) after the first round. The Pacific Games veteran then kept the driver’s seat and regained the division title after shooting a 5-over 77 in the second and final round on the east course last Sunday.
Camacho’s 77 was also the best score in the last round, as he romped past the 19 other competitors in the Senior Flight. The Laolao instructor ended up with a 148 and won by 13 strokes against John Lee, who tallied an 83 and 78 for a two-day total of 161. Guam’s Daryl Poe clinched third place after beating Tars Olopai and Hong Kong’s Kei Hin Tang in the playoffs. The three tied players recorded 162, with Poe posting an 84 and 78, the fourth placer Olopai having an 80 and 82, and Tang registering an 82 and 80.
The Top 3 finishers received cash prizes, while the No. 4 and 5 placers got in-kind prizes during the awards presentation led by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, DFS Saipan vice president for store operations Milan Rabold, 2019 Miss Marianas Shannon Sasamoto, and tournament chair Ben Babauta.
Meanwhile, Henry Liang, Joel Hocog, Suryong Kim, Nick Sablan, Chang Hee Yoo, and Mio Kim were the top finishers in the other flights.
Liang ruled the A Flight after posting a 162 (79 and 83), three shots ahead of Ned Norita (165). Freddy Salavaria (167), Sebastian Camacho (167), and Ray Aguon (172) completed the Top 5 in the division.
Hocog led the Top 5 in the B Flight after carding a 165 (83 and 82) and nipping Alex Sablan 165. The B Flight had a close fight, as third placer Ed Tenorio was just two strokes behind Sablan, while fourth placer Bi Weon Park was ahead by only one shot against Ben Mabborang, 169-170.
In the C Flight, there was also a neck-and-neck battle between Suryong Kim and J.J. Concepcion with the former getting the victory, 172-173. A close third was Patrick George (174), who won the tiebreak against Herman Kintol (174), while Jim Arenovski (179) took fifth place after also prevailing in a deadlock.
In the Super Seniors, Sablan walked away with a three-shot win over Victor Borja, as the former fired a 158 (78 and 80) against the latter’s 161 (79 and 82). Tony Satur (165), Rick Kautz (166), and Joseph Sablan (168) completed the podium finishers.
In the Ladies Low Gross, the Top 3 was decided by only one stroke with Yoo claiming the title after shooting a 162 (84 and 78). Guam’s Emeri Sunga had a 163 (79 and 84) to settle for the runner-up honors, while Saipan’s Yuko Togawa’s 164 (83 and 81) landed her on third place. In the Ladies Low Net, Mio Kim recorded a 147.60 and was joined in the Top 3 by Tessie Blair (147.80) and Seo Yeon Jeon (148).