By Gen. Cris L. Maralit (Ret)
Special to Manila Mail
BALTIMORE. In what was billed as the most successful and highly attended staging of the annual FIRST ACT golf tournament, golfers from the Filipino American Golf Association dominated the competition by winning seven of the top ten major awards in the men’s and seniors divisions at the Oakmont Green golf course in Hampstead.
Lito Solidum fired a net 72 to claim the men’s title and spearheaded a 1-2-3 sweep for FAGA, with Fredy Carreon and Bong Lorenzana finishing first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively, with identical net 73s. Carreon, who had a gross 90, beat out Lorenzana’s gross 95 for second-place honors via tiebreakers on handicap holes.
Third runner-up was Marc Zammichieli with still another net 73, while youthful Almar Garcia finished another stroke back at 74 for fourth runner-up.
The Callaway handicap scoring system was used to determine the players’ net scores and standings in the 72-hole individual stroke play format for in the tournament.
Solidum had a fairly quiet front nine 42 with three consecutive pars in the opening holes before he slowed down with bogeys in the succeeding holes. He, however, stormed back with a string of four consecutive pars in the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th holes, and birdies in the 14th and 15th to actually get to two-under par in that six-hole stretch. He, however, closed out with three consecutive bogeys for a 39 coming in.
Senior standout Ed Reyes prevented a complete FAGA sweep in the seniors division by submitting a net 72 to win the championship. The next top four places were an all-FAGA romp again with Henry Moguet, Mike Ignao, Kenneth Dolores and Rolly Alegado claiming the trophies that were up for grabs. Moguet and Ignao had identical net 73s, and Dolores and Alegado were another stroke back with 74s.
Reyes had the day’s lowest score among seniors, as he navigated the par-72 Oakmont layout for a gross 80. His nines of 39-41 included pars on the second, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th holes.
Barb Solberg crowned herself as ladies champion with a net 73, while long-hitting Tara Zammichieli finished first runner-up with a net 74. Solberg’s teammates Karen Brown finished second third runner-up, respectively, with identical net 75s. One shot further back with a 76 was Sunny Padgette who took home the fourth runner-up trophy.
The longest drive award winners were Jessie Dagdag, men’s division; Ignao, seniors division; and Zammichieli, ladies group. Trophies for the closest to the pin contest went to Boni Olay, men’s division; Osmar Radam, seniors division; and Padgette, ladies division.
Oakmont Green at this time of the year offers ideal scoring opportunities with its wide fairways and well-manicured greens. That reflected in the good scores turned in by mid-handicap players who showed up for the tournament.
Lindley Hora, for one, scored the day’s lowest round–a magnificent one-over par 73 built around his nines of 36-37. He had two birdies on the par-5 fourth and eighth holes for an even-par score at the turn.
Tara Zammichieli, on the other hand, had a splendid 84 built around her nines of 45-39. She had pars on the second, fifth and ninth holes going out, and again on the 10th, 13th and 15th coming in.
Under the Callaway scoring format for the tournament, however, handicap holes are pre-determined that give every player almost the same equal opportunity to win.
Sixty-seven golfers teed off for the sixth edition of the tournament hosted by First Act to benefit the performing arts. It was, by far, the largest field ever assembled by a Filipino organization in the Baltimore area.
Retired police general Cris Maralit, tournament chair, also handed out plaques of recognition to 11 individuals and an organization for their continued support and participation in the golfest. This year’s recipients of the special awards were Dr. Ted Paglinauan, Dr. Jun Reyes, Andy Dujale, Osmar Radam, Gary Santos, Boni Olay, German Silverio, Dick Marcelino, Marc and Novie Zammichieli, Jim and Sunny Padgette, and the Benguet-Ifugao-Mountain Province-Apayao-Kalinga Association (BIMAK DC).
The complete list of winners:
Men’s Division–Lito Solidum, champion; Fredy Carreon, first runner-up; Bong Lorenzana, second runner-up; Marc Zammichieli, third runner-up; and Almar Garcia, fourth runner-up;
Seniors Division–Ed Reyes, champion; Henry Moguet, first runner-up; Mike Ignao, second runner-up; Kenneth Dolores, third runner-up; and Rolly Alegado, fourth runner-up;
Ladies Division– Barb Solberg, champion; Tara Zammichieli, first runner-up; Karen Brown, second runner-up; Lisa Niner; third runner-up; and Sunny Padgette, fourth runner-up.