Team Saipan defeated Team Rota to win the Inaugural 670 Friendship Golf Tournament held last Saturday at the picturesque Rota Resort & Country Club.
The visitors overcame the hosts’ home-field advantage to take home the championship of the 36-hole event between the neighboring islands, 9.5-2.5, in the match play tournament.
Team Saipan was made up of captain Joe “Kamikaze” Camacho and fellow national golf team members J.J. Atalig and Marco Peter, Joshua Atalig, Tony Benavente, Gary Cruz, Dennis Mendiola, Karl Hocog, and Ned Norita.
Team Rota was represented by Henry “Small” Manglona, Lee Roy Atalig, Joel Hocog, D.J. Narro, Olen Jacob, Ian Jacob, Aldrin Orilla, and Domingo Atalig.
In the individual competition played in the morning, J.J. Atalig squared off against Joel Hocog and won, 4-up. Domingo Atalig tied it at all up, however, when he bested Rota native and Department of Fire and Emergency Management Services Commissioner Dennis Mendiola, 4-up. Cruz gave Saipan a 2-1 lead after besting Lee Roy Atalig, 8-up.
Saipan went up 3-1 after Norita dominated Narro, 8-up; before Hocog gave the visitors a 4-1 spread with a 4-up victory over Orilla. Manglona gave Rota its second win following a 4-up win over Joshua Atalig before Benavente and Camacho capped Saipan’s 6-2 win in individual play after 3-up and 4-up triumphs over Ian and Olan Jacob, respectively.
In the two-man scramble later in the afternoon, Peter and Mendiola started things off by humbling Manglona and Lee Roy Atalig, 7-up. Karl Hocog and Cruz then ended their match against Joel Hocog and Narro all squared up. Norita and Joshua Atalig played impressively, especially the youthful Atalig in a 7-up demolition of Ian Jacob and Orilla. Benavente and Camacho then brought the bacon home with a 4-up win over Olen Jacob and Domingo Atalig. It was 3.5-0.5 for Team Saipan in the two-man scramble event.
Camacho thanked Team Rota for hosting the first-ever 670 Friendship Golf Tournament between the two islands and invited more Rota players to the 2nd Annual 670 Friendship Golf Tournament that Saipan is scheduled to host next year.
“On behalf of myself and the guys from Team Saipan, we all want to thank Team Rota for everything and for hosting us with great hospitality. I hope that next year this event will be a lot bigger and also for Team Rota to have a bigger number of players joining the event. It’ll be fun and we’re all looking forward for next year,” he said.
Camacho said while Team Saipan was overjoyed to take home the 670 Friendship Golf Tournament perpetual trophy, ultimately everyone was a winner after golfers from Saipan and Rota finally were able to share the golf course together and break bread after 36 holes of golf.
“Part of the trip was for us to bring something different to Rota and also to share ideas and get to know other players. But most importantly, it’s all about the camaraderie and the time spent with Saipan and Rota golfers. We were also encouraging Rota players to come up to Saipan and tryout for the Pacific Mini Games next year,” he said.