‘Kamikaze’ lands victory in Senior Flight


Joe “Kamikaze” Camacho, second left, poses with his prizes in the Senior Flight of the 22nd Governor’s Tournament of Champions during the awards ceremony last Sunday at the Laolao Bay Golf and Resort. Also in the photo are, from left, Tedson Timothy of Titan Imports, TOC chair Ben Babauta, and TOC co-founder Marian Aldan-Pierce. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Just in case members of today’s golf community did not know Joe “Kamikaze” Camacho, the veteran reintroduced himself by winning the Seniors Flight of the 22nd Governor’s Tournament of Champions held last weekend at the Laolao Bay Golf and Resort.

Camacho shot a 9-over par 153 in the two-day tournament to beat 15 other players in the Seniors Flight. He carded a 3-over par 75 in the first round and a 6-over par 78 in the second for a three-stroke victory against Tars Olopai, who had a 76 and 80 in the two rounds for his total of 12-over par 156.

Before moving to the Senior Flight, Camacho was a perennial contender in the Championship Flight, not only in the Governor’s Tournament of Champions, but also in other local tournaments. He owns three Championship Flight titles at TOC, having ruled the division in 2001, 2003, and 2004. Camacho used to be pitted against CNMI golf legends the late Jess Wabol, Jeff Taylor, Sasaki Oliver, Frank Castro, Nick Sablan, and other high-level players on the island before he took a break from golf when he moved to the mainland several years ago. He returned to action at TOC in 2015 where he finished second to Mark Rush in the Seniors Flight.

Camacho’s 153 in this year’s TOC was the second best score in last weekend’s competition behind the 141 of eventual Championship Flight winner Ryan Park Kim and runner-up Brett Salas of Guam.

Meanwhile, Jong Hoon Park (157), John Hartig (159), and Federico Flores (162) joined Camacho and Olopai in the Top 5 of the Seniors Flight.

In the Super Seniors Flight, another familiar name stood out with Nick Sablan winning the division after firing a 161, built around his 77 in the first and 84 in the second. Victor Borja came in at second place with his 164 and was followed by Dennis Williams (166), Tony Satur (167), and Attorney General Edward Manibusan (171).

The winner in the C Flight was also decided by three strokes with Ray Steve Aguon registering 173 against the 176 of Romy Batac. Aguon got a good lead in the first round with his 8-over par 80 and he kept the upper hand after matching Batac’s 93 in the last round. The runner-up had an 83 in the first round, while third placer Xioa Fei Gong posted 93 in the opening round before improving his score in the second (87) to save third place and earned a total of 180. Luis Cepeda (182) and John Mafnas (183) rounded out the Top 5.

In the A Flight, Keun Pil Lee was the runaway winner with his 156. He was 13 shots ahead of runner-up Dong Kyu Lee (169), while Joe Tudela (170), Joseph Muna (170), and Jae Yeol Jeoung (174) completed the Top 5.

In the B Flight, Byung Hwao Kim prevailed by four strokes against Changho Kim as the former shot a two-day total of 162 over the latter’s 166. Presell Azarcon finished third with his 167, while Ray Quintanilla (170) and Sung Man Cho (172) came in at fourth and fifth, respectively.

In the Ladies Division, Yong Suk Kim (158) won the Lowest Gross contest, while Rose Tarpley (154.8) topped the Lowest Net contest.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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