Palik leads country winners

The CNMI’s Thomson Palik, center, joins Imperial Pacific International Holdings executive vice president Tao Xing, right, and marketing and public affairs director David Largent for a photo after receiving his awards in the Marianas International Cup 2017 last Sunday at Laolao Bay Golf & Resort. (Jon Perez)

Marianas Country Club operations manager Thomson Palik earlier planned to leave midway through the awarding ceremony of the Imperial Pacific Resort-organized Marianas International Cup 2017. Fortunately, he decided to stay as he was later named one of the winners of the inaugural competition.

Palik, who with colleague William Retardo were trying to catch up with their company’s bowling tournament, led the country champions of the event held at the Kingfisher Golf Links last Saturday and at Laolao Bay Golf & Resort last Sunday. The awards banquet took place at Laolao’s The Grill.

“We [Retardo] were looking to catch up and play some bowling. Good thing we stayed. That’s how it goes in double peoria, you’ll be surprised that you won,” said Palik moments after receiving his prizes.

Palik, a regular fixture in club and major golf tournaments on the island, just enjoyed the final day and even joked how terrible his round of golf was. He received a hand-carved latte stone-shaped trophy made of wood, $300 cash, a golf bag, and a three-night stay in a deluxe room of the Imperial Pacific Resort that is set to open in the third quarter of next year.

Seung Woo Kang came in second, while Jae Yeol Joong was third in the CNMI bracket. The Top 3 finishers for China, Japan, and Korea were also recognized at the banquet with the champion earning a round-trip ticket to Saipan, $300, and a four-night stay at IPI’s Grand Ocean Suite aside from the trophy.

Rong San Cui, Jin Nu Cai, and Kinping Cheng were the Top 3 winners from China, while Akira Ueda, Hiroyuki Kataoka, and Fumiyuki Takasuka duplicated the feat in the Japan bracket. Mun Yong Jung, Sukin Yang, and Kyung Rai Koh were the Korean podium finishers.

Eventual overall champion Changfeng Liu (No. 6, 2”), Sakuma Seiichi (No. 8, 3’ 6”), Kiyoko Okayasu (No. 12, 4’ 25”), and Seo Yeom Jeon (No. 15, 3’ 1”) were the closest to the pin winners at Kingfisher. Seiichi and Yunai Yamashita had the longest drive for the men’s and women’s.

Jong Bong Wong (No. 4), Myung Keun Jung (No. 6), Seung Woo Kang, and Shan Cui Rong made closest to the pin shots at Laolao, while Kang was also the longest drive winner in the men’s side and Yuko Togawa earned the ladies title.

Meanwhile, former CNMI Legislature member and current Department of Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Anthony Benavente bested 15 other golfers to rule the sponsor’s tournament held at Laolao’s west course. Yong Joo Kim came in at second, while Prescil Azarcon finished third.

Benavente was also the closest to the pin winner at No. 13 at 39’ and 9”, while Azarcon matched it at No. 7 at 16’, aside from having the longest drive of 225 yards at No. 18. Absalon Waki Jr. (No. 3, 39”) and Takashi Ishikawa (No. 17, 14’ 5”) were the other closest to the pin winners.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez has been covering local and international sports events for more than 15 years. His sports writing career started when he joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, when he was in college.

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