Round 1 (Tour 11) – The Players Championship sponsored by Raul Encarnacion
Our Director Raul Encarnacion invited me over to his home for breakfast, and served delicious longsilog, fresh brewed coffee, along with his $500 sponsorship. We carpooled to Ballamor GC, one of the best public courses in NJ, which was in excellent condition. 26 high rolling Swaggers and two special guests, Caloy and Dr Jun B, heeded their competitive instincts and traveled three hours to the course near Atlantic City. It was a beautiful Saturday on the 22nd of August, tempered only by the passing of Violet, Melvin’s beloved wife. We said our prayers and continued the tournament with respect.
Unlike the games in the gleaming city on the horizon, the luck of the draw did not give any player a chance to win. It took hard work, practice on the actual course, and due diligence like mapping the greens. And that was what Zenon did to deservedly win Tour 11. Reggie was runner up, followed by Romy, Philip and Gerry D. The top five were named because they had the advantage to win the championship. Romy again shot the lowest gross, while Lino E drove the longest off the tee.&nbs p; Mac and Jojo P claimed all the closest to the pins with two each.
After the game, some Swaggers helped a fellow Swagger who had car trouble, and two went home for a family affair. Others checked into their hotels and got together for dinner.
Ten of us had dinner at a noodle bar at the Taj Mahal, including our Swagger guests. We continued the celebrations in Mac’s room at Taj, reminiscing the good old days with music from the 60s and 70s, fine wine and Raul’s premium cognac. It was like turning back time when we were young and worry-free, ti ll past midnight.
Meanwhile in a different hotel, Oca was still chasing after scorecards, tallying the scores and arranging the next day’s pairings, on top of his car transmission problem.
Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks to our generous sponsor, Raul, and all the dedicated directors and volunteers who worked so hard to give us another enjoyable and memorable tour.
At your service,
The Black Bear statue at the entrance appeared growling as it betokened peril at the Swaggers on its Tour 9 on Saturday. It was sunny in the 80s, but with gentle breeze and low humidity, it felt comfortable for golf. The fairways were in good condition, the bunkers were quite firm, and the greens were delightfully deceiving. Don’t be fooled by the description as “recreational golfer’s paradise” in the website of Crystal Springs, world’s third largest golf resort. Judging from the scores, even the seasoned Swaggers were challenged by the constricted fairways and rippling greens. Six flights charged at the Bear in the scramble for a top-20 position.
When the dust settled, the youthful Phillip Hollnsteiner was left victorious. His fluid long swing around his flexible body and superb balance boomed lengthy and accurate drives to make the difference. No wonder Phillip also won the longest drive. The runner-up was Do-What-You-Do-Best Gerry Aguilera. Called by his perennial bettor, Peter, as “my personal ATM machine”, Gerry reprogrammed himself to receive deposits only and no withdrawals. Peter even gave Gerry some iron lessons at the range before the round, only to be used against him, in yet another display of Swagger sportsmanship. Oca shot the lowest gross score with his Bubba-golf style. Like shooting fish in a barrel, Oca (twice), Gerry A, and our youngest member, Carlos Maranon, won the ProV1’s for closest to the pin.
After the game, like hungry grizzlies the Swaggers celebrated at the Clubhouse, as the scores were tallied and side bets were settled. Looking back, I was glad that I donned my shorts instead of a penguin suit. Otherwise, I would have missed seeing my cousin Lino C skipping and hopping with a joyful smile on his face, the boisterous banter and laughter of good friends, and the compelling competition that motivates us to stay in shape.
Thank you very much to the Directors who work so hard to make this happen and to all Swaggers who make it worthwhile. Only one regular tour remains to improve your position. Enjoy the game at Wild Turkey on August 15. Life is good!
* Lifetime Jueteng Participant
Saturday was moving time at The Open, and so it was at the SWAG Tour 7 at Royce Brook GC. And just like at St Andrews, the weather cooperated at Hillsborough. The fairways and greens were very receptive and tournament ready. Although there was water in some bunkers, they were nothing compared to the aptly named bunkers at the Old Course. As Mon said, the best bunker play is the one you don’t have to do. Eight flights fought for position into the top 20 in order to qualify for Class A for the championship rounds.
There were two interesting storylines at our Tour 7. First was the color-blind foursome of Romy, Dante, Melvin and Noel, who inadvertently teed off the wrong tees in one of the holes. But being gentlemen golfers with unquestionable sportsmanship, they gracefully DQ’d themselves without any complaints. They are true Swaggers, indeed, and hats off to them. Romy could have won, but with good humor, he cheerfully opened the door to the eventual winner.
This segues to the second plot. While it’s mostly a battle of youth at The Open, it was a triumph of experience at our tour. After recently becoming an octogenarian, my cousin Lino Carin was declared the winner. During the interview, the Champ said, “There’s one thing I can say – I think my game is back!” Cheers to Daddy Lino for inspiring those among us who are advancing in mileage and enduring bodily aches and pains. As Jojo S said, the super seniors can still put it in the hole.
Ex Prez Lino E was runner-up after a tie breaker, solidifying his position at the top of the heap. The Ace was also the low gross winner. Oca B bombed the drive like Dustin with a swing that is almost the spitting image of Jordan’s. Jojo P, Lito D, Romy and Lino C made dart practice of the par 3s. Jueteng winners were: Front – Cary, Dr Dino, Lino E; Back – Gerry A, Lino C, Lito D; LG – Lino E (1st) and Oca B (2nd). Lowaist Gang were Dr Dino, Zenon, Roland, Dr Pete. Congrats to all the winners and thanks to the contributors and our hardworking Directors!
After the game, we celebrated with dinner at The Restaurant at Royce Brook, one of the best in NJ. The sumptuous steak was delicious as usual, kudos to Chef Mark. The lovely attendants were very engaging, humoring the harmless flirtations of the young once. All in all, it was another enjoyable and memorable Swag Tour filled with friendly competition and camaraderie.
The B2K Construction Tournament
Tour 3 – B2K Construction Tournament at Berkshire Valley GC
Ah, Berkshire Valley, the name conjures scenic rolling hills and picturesque plains framed by shady trees and tranquil lakes. But like the yin to the yang, it also instills apprehension to some weekend hackers when its bucolic image is juxtaposed by narrow fairways, undulating greens, lurking forests, steep cliffs and watery graves to many a golf balls. Whether you see the views as inspiring or fearsome, it was probably fitting that they were shrouded by fog and mist in the morning and overcast by clouds in the afternoon, with mild temperatures and calm winds—not bad for golf. However, the greens were aerated and sand-filled, denying us of true roll. The course’s schedule was as tight as the fairways; hence, the SWAG directors set special rules to maintain a reasonable pace of play, and all complied. Seven flights responded to the call to battle in SWAG Tour 3 – B2K Construction Tournament sponsored by Gerry Aguilera.
Contrasting conditions are inherent in life and golf. To wit, on one par 3 hole with forced carry over water, the senior tees were farther than the regular tees, to the chagrin of the seniors. While snickering behind, the slightly younger competitors could not hide their schadenfreude. Now imagine the joy of reaching the green in one glorious drive on the short par 4. And shortly thereafter feel the agony of squandering the rare eagle or easy birdie opportunity by taking four putts. It is a mortal sin in golf according to Leo. But we’re not really sinners, Zenon. The golf gods are just playing with us. Then there’s Ding Furyk. Fresh from winning Tour 2 and Colors, he followed up by playing the best front nine in Tour 3. Unfortunately, he had to discontinue due to painful back spasms. We wish you a speedy recovery, Champ.
Indeed, it was a trifecta of seniors winning the first three consecutive tours. This time Jojo P claimed victory in his cool, calm and collected ways. Francis D was runner-up after a tie breaker with Reggie M. In his first tour this season, Cary B2B shot lowest gross. The youthful Philip H rocketed the ball farthest. Closest to the pins belonged to Roland, Dr Max and Zenon. Jueteng winners were: Ding, Philip, Orly, Peter, Jojo P, Lino E, Cary, Beda, Vic and Dr Pete. Special mention goes to Dr Ipe who had two birdies from the regular tees. As brought up by Romy, kudos to our treasurer Orly for the transparency and trustworthy handling of SWAG funds over the years.
Gerry Aguilera of B2K Construction, the sponsor Tour 3, graciously hosted the after-game celebrations at his home in Secaucus. We feasted on delicious Latin flavors, home BBQs of tender lamb and the other prime meats, sweet desserts and the finest drinks. Many thanks to Gerry A and family! Bombastic SWAG birthday greetings as well to Gerry A, Oca, Ramon, Lino C—sorry if I missed other Swaggers–who were born in May, especially those reaching the big 5-0 and 8-0 milestones. Oh, in case you’re wondering, Jimmy doesn’t want to speak with Orly anymore.
Tour III: @ Berkshire Valley GC
Green Fee: $78.00 Time: 09:00
Range ball included
|Berkshire Valley GC Club|
|WHEN||Saturday May 09, 2015|
|VIEW WHO IS PLAYING|
It was a brisk early morning and beautiful sunny day. When else can you get a Saturday morning tee time, shotgun start with cart and lunch at Spook Rock for 64 bucks? The course played by a billionaire mayor and a famous NFL player was where SWAG held its 2nd Tour. Some Swaggers were a bit rusty as this was their first round of the season. Dr Pete asked me to write about his three double pars in the same round. Such sportsmanship was reminiscent of the great Billy Casper who proudly celebrated his 106 score–highest ever–in his last game at the Masters in 2005. Dr Pete was ready to give his share of low-waist gang, but alas four others played worse. The course condition was good, but some described the greens and pin placements as almost diabolical. You can be in on 2 and then in on 4 again on the same hole.
For the second consecutive time, the winner emerged from the seniors. It was Ding Roxas who methodically dissected the course with the precision swing of Jim Furyk. Although one of the longer hitters, Ding said he enjoyed playing from the senior tees. Runner-up was Gerry A after a tie breaker with Lino E, Philip H, and Ed A. Lino E won low gross, Oca drove the longest, and par 3 sharpshooters were Roland, Lino E, Philip and Oca. Jueteng winners were Raul, Roland, Philip, Lino E, Ding, Zenon, Oca, Dr Ipe, Jojo S and Dr Lito A. Congrats to the winners!
Show Your Colors Winners – The Engineers
Majority participated in the Show Your Colors contest. Originally planned to be an individual effort, the “athletes” gradually flocked to form teams like birds of the same colors. Representatives of similar type of colleges combined forces to challenge other teams with many members. UST had the most members. UE Warriors were very enthusiastic. The best of the best scores from each team won. Again, the winner was Ding Roxas who represented Mapua Institute of Tchnology, together with his team members Philip of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Gerry A of Batangas State University, and Ed of Mapua. Go Engineers! Gerry D, also an engineer who represented University of the Philippines, photo bombed the winning team. He’s still giddy for avoiding the gang of four. Resembling a fiesta parade, the athletes strutted their colorful coats-of-arms. Winners of best attires were Peter of Ateneo de Manila and Francis of De La Salle. These traditional adversaries looked like BFFs in Oca’s photo collage in our website. Check it out and see snapshots of our celebration at Ed’s home after the game. Seeing how we enjoyed Wilma’s cooking, one can’t tell that we already had lunch at the course. We shared fine drinks brought by some members, accompanied by live performance of the second version of the Blue Eagles cheering song.
Let’s continue the fun and sign up for Tour 3 – The B2K Construction Tournament at Berkshire Valley GC on May 9, sponsored by Gerry Aguilera, owner of B2K. Gerry A will also host the after-game celebration. Low-waist gang will be in effect, as the main goal seems to be to avoid it. Will another senior be victorious for a trifecta? No pressure, Orly. We still don’t know what Jimmy would say.
At your service,
Tour II: @ Spook Rock GC
Green Fee: $64.00 Time: 08:00
|Spook Rock GC Club|
|WHEN||Saturday April 25, 2015|
|VIEW WHO IS PLAYING|