It’s Getting Hot In Here: Dragons Light Up Poppy Ridge

APR 17, 2016

LIVERMORE, Calif. - While the rest of the Bay Area enjoyed San Francisco at its most glorious and cheered on the Golden State Warriors, the Dragons descended upon Poppy Ridge for a round of golf. This Dragon was so engrossed in the colors that were painted across the Zinfandel and Merlot tracks, he did not check his phone once. He knew the Warriors would whup the Rockets in Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs. Probably also aided by Mike Lum streaming the game on his phone between holes. Mike, since you probably missed out on the most gorgeous day of golf at Poppy Ridge, here’s a recap:

Red. As in A Sea of. Tiger Wood’s shirt on Sunday. These Dragons painted the leaderboard Red with their scores. Mike Lum, ho hum 70/net 66!!!!!!! for 1st place in Flight A. Back-to-back wins to start the season. Tom Yee bunted his way around the burned out hills of Livermore for a 77/67, good enough to win any day of the week. Just not when Big Mike is in the house. Congrats on your 2nd consecutive 2nd. John Chu, the good one, not the bitter old man flipping off the cup at Lake Merced, put up a 77/70, another score in the red for 3rd Low Net in Flight A. Peter Lyu’s 81/73 was good enough for 4th place Low Net in Flight A.

It was a tale of two 9’s for first-time winner, Davis Lee. After 3 years of 3rds and 4ths, he finally caught fire on the back 9 to score in the Red. His 88/69 barely edged Mike Gui’s 91/70, which took 2nd Low Net in Flight B. Watch out for MG as the temperature heats up his driver. Karen Fong birdied the last hole to sneak in at 3rd with a 92/74. Karen has unresolved sandbox issues from her childhood, as she set a course record by hitting into 23 bunkers. She stated that her bunker practice is completed for the year. Jon Chiu didn’t have it going, but hung in there to nab 4th Low Net with a 91/75.

Green. The pretty fairways. With Envy. Cash. Congrats to these players who won a lot of it. Joe Kwok, Carter Mau and Karen Fong got paid with one skin a piece. Big skins winners were Carol Lee (2), Mike Gui (2), Peter Lyu (2) and everyone’s favorite charitable foundation, Mike Lum (4). Closet to the Pin Winners were Karen Fong, Mieko Sugimoto, Davis Lee, Tim Choy, Brian Miller (2!), Joe Kwok and that Lum guy again.

Gold. As in Bling. As in Asian. As in Uncle CP Liu’s golf clubs. After a two-year absence recovering from back surgeries and hip replacement, the new Bionic Grandpa was ECSTATIC to be out on the course. The real reason I didn’t want to check my phone was that I saw the joy and appreciation CP had just being out on the course. He stroked his driver all day, and by the back nine, was finding his routine pars. By the end of the round, an Elder Dragon taught a Younger Dragon, “You have to have friends in your age group, so they hit the same distance as you. Also, it’s not how you play, it’s how Bling your clubs look.”

Editor’s Note: All hate mail can be directed to Davis Lee. Lawrence Ma has nothing to do with the comment on the two John Chu’s we have in the club.

Season Opener 2016: Club Charity Drive at Wente Vineyards

MAR 21, 2016

By Davis Lee

LIVERMORE, Calif. – New year. New round. New hopes. After all the hugs, handshakes and basic chit chat, there was an intensity and anxiousness to the start of the Dragons’ golf season. There are so few events, that every event is a “Major.” Would this be the year that new names occupy the leaderboards? Will the strong wave of female golfers smash through and seize the Dragon Cup?

The Wente Vineyard course looked in perfect condition and the deadly wind and forecasted rain were nowhere in sight. It looked like a great day for golf. The only wrinkle was a big wrinkle, as the driving range was closed and everyone headed off to the shotgun start without hitting any balls. This made for an interesting beginning, as many of the golfers struggled to know which direction their balls felt like taking off to. Even Mike Lum, who has never missed a shot in his life, sliced his first tee shot. Of course, since he’s Mike Lum, he made the birdie putt, actually he made 5 of them.

Most of the club’s scorecards looked like bowling frames, with plenty of 10’s, X’s and Turkeys. I wish I were kidding. The Course at Wente Vineyards is a top notch NorCal course, but today she was hungry. Even before the winds and rain made a powerful and brief appearance, the Dragons’ were donating balls to the vineyards, the brush and the water like never seen before.

Just like the latest Star Wars release was awfully familiar, 2016 was awfully familiar to 2015. Last year, the Dragons got beat down by Cinnabar in the first event. This year, we were all crying mercy and playing the last few holes with range balls as we donated our name brands to the needy. The stingy ones that didn’t relinquish their gold to the course, were the same old, same old. Mike Lum shot a scorching 69/net 65 with 5 birdies to easily capture 1st Low Net in the A Flight. This was good for the whole enchilada, Low Net, Low Gross and 3 skins.

“You don’t even need driver at this easy course.” Sure Mike, we’ll take driver out of the bag next round, thanks! The gritty, unbending perennial contender, Tom Yee took 2nd Low Net in the A Flight with 82/72.

The girls were the only ones who were tough enough in the B Flight. Amazingly, only 3 players out of 14 broke 100! Mieko Sugimoto let all beware that she is in it to win it with a 93/75 to take home 1st Low Net in Flight B. Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Helen Liu grinded out a 93/76 to take home 2nd Low Net. Do not let these easy smiles and pretty outfits fool you. They will take your lunch money.

After the carnage, it was great to see everyone and most of us bonded in our misery while cursing under our breath at the victors that conquered the course today. It’s going to be an exciting season of events, especially the Match Play Championship, which has a record number of participants this year. Competing in the club is a great excuse to secretly sneak out to hit the range and an extra practice round before our next event at Poppy Ridge in April. Call a Dragon up and get out and play!

The Second Chong is a Charm: Jon Chong Wins Dragon Cup ‘15

OCT 12, 2015

LIVERMORE, Calif. - Jon Chong, on the strength of his win at the Club Championship last weekend, finished atop the 2015 Dragon Cup Points List. Jon becomes the second Chong brother (boy do we have many of those) to win the Dragon Cup, since baby brother Wesley Jr did it in the 2009 inaugural race.

Going into the Club Championship, where double Dragon Cup points were up for grabs for those who competed over 36 holes, a dozen Dragons or more had a mathematical shot at the Dragon Cup title. Chris Chong (yeah, a Chong brother) had the lead, with Tom Yee and Jon Chong very close behind.

Chris and Tom opened with rounds of net 89 and net 83, respectively at The Bridges on Saturday, while Jon blistered the B Flight with a 2-under net 70 in the B Flight. A steady second-day 83/net 72 at Poppy Ridge had Jon at 142 net, which was one better than Mike Gui (net 77-66 143) for the B Flight Low Net. The 400-point weekend vaulted Jon to 1073 points.

In the A Flight, it was Steve Tsang, the 2013 Dragon Cup champion, who made the late run. Steve closed out the season with net rounds of 76-67 to win A Flight Low Net. With 973 points, that’s good for the Runner-Up honors for the 2015 Dragon Cup race. Chris Chong (net 89-83 172) hung on for 3rd place (745 points).

Woody Allen once said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” In the case of Jon’s run to Dragon Cup victory, that’s exactly what he did. Jon played in 12 out of the 13 Dragon Cup-sanctioned events this season, teeing it up more often than any other member of the Club. He didn’t exactly play well all year – as a matter of fact, he stunk early in the year. But he collected points for showing up, and finally won a tournament when it really counted – the big whopper at Bridges and Poppy Ridge. Jon played on both victorious teams at the BOB and the NCC, and also captained the winning side at the Weekender. As Club tradition would have it, the Dragon Cup Champion will be asked to captain a Weekender squad – looks like Team Black’s boss will be back to defend at Saddle Creek and Greenhorn next summer!

In the inaugural Kirin Cup race for the lowest gross scoring, it was Mike Lum, the 2014 Dragon Cup champion, who prevailed in a race that got very close towards the end of the season. Mike’s four lowest club tournament rounds this year were 74-79-74-74, for a total of 301 – the closing gross 74 at Poppy Ridge knocked an 80 off of Mike’s ledger. He needed that 74 – Paul Loui (79-79-75-76) and Brian Miller (82-69-79-79) finished tied for second at 309. Had Mike taken last weekend off, Brian could have caught him with a just a couple of extra putts dropping at Poppy Ridge.

The Rookie of the Year honors will go to Helen Liu, who showed up late, but placed just about every time she teed it up. She won at both Crystal Springs and Shadow Lakes, contributed to the NCC team, and flat out outscored the others in the small 2015 freshman class. In just 3 club tournaments and 1 team appearances, she racked up 588 points, good for 11th place.

All of the winners will be honored Sunday, November 22, at the Awards Banquet & Holiday Party at the Olympic Club. The invitation, being prepared by your MC’s Martin Chang and Angie Wong, will be going out soon. Please as a matter of common courtesy, RSVP immediately upon receipt! Should be good times!

Just to be clear, the Dragon Cup race is a strictly net finishes competition. At Poppy Ridge, the Club did have traditional trophies made for both old school gross and net finishes, and that order of finish is slightly different, as we don’t award a player two trophies, e.g. in the case where a player is both low gross and low net. The winners of the 36-hole Club Championship are as follows, CONGRATULATIONS to you all (Danny, you need to play more in 2016!):

Flight A 1st Low Gross Paul Loui 75-76 151 2nd Low Gross Mike Lum 82-74 156 1st Low Net Steve Tsang 76-67 143 2nd Low Net Daniel Nam 79-73 152 Flight B 1st Low Gross Jonathan Chong 82-83 165 2nd Low Gross Mieko Sugimoto 92-88 180 1st Low Net Michael Gui 77-66 143 2nd Low Net Davis Lee 79-76 155
Each year, the Club will recognizes a member striving for the elite single digit realm, as we award the Most Improved Player prize to member who improved the most from the end of the last season to the end of this one. Liang Chen, having gone from 11.1 in November 2015 to 6.7 this month, is our 2015 MIP.

And there’s one last Club competition that remains outstanding – the Club Match Play brackets. Per Commissioner Carter Mau, the finals is between Tom Yee and the winner of Ron Synn vs Liang Chen in their semifinal. The winner’s pot will be awarded, of course, at Olympic Club, next month.

BUCKET LIST 2015: SOAKED IT ALL IN AT PINEHURST! Lastly, 19 Dragons made it to Pinehurst for Bucket List 2015. The members played a Stableford Tournament, in which the points quotas for the field were adjusted after round – if you got hot and scored more than your quota in round, your budget was increased for the 2nd round; if you didn’t, your quota got revised downward, which tends to keep the whole field in the game.

The Dragons played at Pinehurst Nos. 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9, and Stableford Commissioner Jim Hwang designated our rounds at No. 9, 8, and 2 as the official tournament rounds. $100 buy-in from everyone, and the result? Well, it must be the year of the Chongs. Alex Chong walked away with the big bucks at Pinehurst!

Round 1 Best - Alex Chong with -3 under his quota wins $150. Round 2 Best - Chris Wong with 2 over his quota wins $150. Round 3 Best - Alex Chong with 2 over his quota wins $150.
3rd place overall went to Steve Tsang at 11 under his quota - winner of a box of minty golf balls courtesy of Lawrence Ma. 2nd place overall went to Carter Mau at 9 under his quota - $300 1st place overall went to Alex Chong at 8 under his quota - $700
…and the dreaded “DFL”: - 21 points under his quota Tom Yee who picks up some an awesome Pinehurst umbrella and a Pinehurst bucket hat for the next bucket list trip where it’ll pour on us!

It was a great time, despite the weather. We got to check off three in the Top 100 You Can Play, and enjoyed some fabulous Southern hospitality. Tons of photos are at our FB Group Page – Thank you all (“y'all”) for coming!

Hello Helen! Rookie Wins Again At Shadow Lakes

SEP 14, 2015

LOUI’S BACKYARD, Calif. - Helen Liu, the mid-season addition to the club by Angie Wong, is the real deal. She’s going low, and she’s taking names.

With a round of 79/net 66, Helen won the September club tournament at Shadow Lakes last Saturday. She jumps all the way up to 13th on the Dragon Cup points list, and now lead the 2015 freshmen class for the Rookie of the Year honors.

Steven Tsang is flashing some good late season form, shooting a field low-gross 78, and finishing net second (net 69). Jon Chong’s 83/net 71 was good for third place, followed by Peter Lyu in fourth (80/net 72).

Jon and Steve are making moves on the Dragon Cup leaderboard. Jon, having finished third low net at the Seattle Labor Day Invitational, is now sixth on the Dragon Cup points list (538 points). Steven is now in fourth place at 563 points. The leader remains Tom Yee (658), followed by Chris Chong (583) and Karen Fong (567).

In the inaugural Kirin Cup race for low gross scoring, Brian Miller continues to gain ground on leader Mike Lum (DNP at Shadow Lakes). Mike’s four lowest rounds of the season are 74-74-79-80, for a total of 307. Brian’s four best rounds out of his six appearances this year now puts him just 7 strokes back at 314 (69-79-82-84).

With a 36-hole finale in October, Brian definitely has an opportunity to knock a couple of more clunkers off the ledgers. Steven Tsang (76-78-84-85 323) and Tom Yee (77-82-82-84 325) are going to have to play both rounds too in October to gain ground.

Getting Hot in Here: Miller Goes Low at Crystal

AUG 20, 2015

BURLINGAME, Calif. - Brian Miller, who is in the chase for the inaugural Kirin Cup for low gross scoring, just got a lot closer to leader Mike Lum.

On a very hot and stifling still afternoon at Crystal Springs, Brian got very hot indeed and dropped a 3-under GROSS 69 on his fellow Dragons, shooting net 64 to easily win the A Flight. And that’s with a double bogey 7 on the finishing Par 5. Martin Chang, who took nearly twice that many strokes to play the same golf course in the same group, said Brian could have easily shot gross 64.

The course was baked out by the drought, but the greens have been watered to handle the heat wave and were quite receptive. As a result, the scoring was very good overall. Second place went to Crystal local Steve Tsang, who shot 76/net 67. Steady Tom Yee was right there again, with a 77/net 68 for third place. Chris Chong (79/net 69) finished fourth.

In the B Flight, new member Helen Liu, also playing on home turf, got her first win with an 87/net 72. Tim Choy finished second at 89/net 73. Jon Chiu took a couple of big numbers, but finished 3rd (87/net 75), beating Angela Wong (104/net 75) in a card-off.

The Crystal tournament was also our annual friendly with the Century Club. In the 12-on-12 total net scoring competition with our friends, the Dragons once again prevailed, 896 to 982. The 86-stroke victory is the largest winning margin in the series. Neal Ho, who played for Century in the team competition, led that team with a 76/net 72. We were honored by presence of Mayor Ed Lee, who played with Joe Kwok and Liang Chen, carding a 98/net 80.

The updated Dragons Cup leaderboard finds Tom Yee at the top with 614 points. Chris Chong (538 points) and Karen Fong (535) are virtually tied for second, with Lawrence Ma (521) and Mike Lum (513) also bunched closely in the pack.

In the Kirin Cup race, Mike Lum’s four lowest rounds of the year (74-80-79-74) puts him in the lead at 307. As mentioned, Brian Miller is closing (82-84-87-69) at 322 – the 69 at Crystal Springs knocked a gawdawful 92 at Poppy Hills off of Brian’s ledger. With three more medal rounds remaining in the season, Brian is certainly not out of it. Tom Yee (85-82-82-77 326) is right there too. A stinker by Mike, and a couple of low ones by Brian (he’s capable) or Tom, who knows?

Weekender ‘15 - Team Black Reverses Chong Curse

JUL 12, 2015

CLIO, Calif. - In the history of the Weekender, there has been two distinctive trend lines – or curses, if you will. The first was that Team Red could not win, and the other was that teams captained by a member of the Chong family couldn’t win either.

The Weekender, which began in 2010, opened up with three straight losses for Team Red, all captained by founding club captain Wes Chong. Captain Angie Wong succeeded Wes in 2013, only to suffer the biggest loss in Weekender history at Silverado.

Well, the Red Team curse was finally reversed last year at La Purisima and Hunter Ranch on the Central Coast. Unfortunately, Auntie Angie’s big win came at the expense of another Captain Chong – Jon Chong, who took over Team Black from Paul Loui and Lawrence Ma.

0-4 were the Captain Chongs, who really deserved better. After all, the Chong family is a cornerstone of the Dragons, with Alex, Jon, Wes, and Mari (Wes’ wife and former club mom) all having run the Dragons’ predecessor club, the Good Guys, for so many years, and served with dedication on the founding board of the Dragons. Chris Chong is our happy warrior who menters younger members and anchors our BOB and NCGA teams. Jon’s son Tommy played with us for a few seasons, and Jon is still serving on our board today.

At last, the “Chong Curse” has been reversed, as Uncle Jon guided Team Black to a 13.5 to 9.5 victory over Team Red last weekend in the Sierras, at the pastoral Whitehawk Ranch and the aptly-named Dragon at Nakoma.

The key to victory was the Saturday Four-Ball at Whitehawk, as Team Black jumped out to a 6-2 lead. But it could have easily gone the other way for Captain Jon. Four of the matches were decided on the 18th hole – Peter Lyu-Karen Fong vs Brian Miller-Tim Lohse, Jim Hwang-Jeff Yee vs Brian Fong-Jon Chiu, Tom Yee-Mike Gui vs Mike Lum-Davis Lee, PoJen Lin-Carol Lee vs Alvin Tang-Tom Chu were all 1-up wins for Team Back.

Three other matches were also very close. Jonathan Wong-Carter Mau beat Dan Kim-Richard Hsu, 2 & 1. Doug Tam-Song-Min Wang beat Chris Chong - Rob Dang by the same score. So it went for the Captain’s match, as Capt. Jon beat Capt. Angie for a full point, 2 & 1. The only match that wasn’t close was Liang Chen and Lawrence Ma’s 8 & 7 rout of Jason Kung and Alex Chong. Alex, a last-minute replacement for Greg DeForest, was still on Hawaii time, and the vacation after glow (or jet lag) showed. Meanwhile, Lawrence and Liang were red hot, shooting 38 and 37 gross, respectively, on the front side, and closed out the match by the 12th.

The Saturday Night Members Dinner at the Weekender is always a fun and raucous affair, but this year, it also featured the first-ever Sunday Singles Selections Show. Rather than having the captains submit their Sunday line-ups weeks prior to the trip, 1 through 15 and let the chips fall where they may, the captains conducted a President’s Cup-style singles match-up on Saturday night. Team Black, as the Four-Ball winner, put up the first player on the board, and Team Red countered with two players, and so it went. Capt. Jon, assisted by his brothers Alex and Chris, matched wits and traded Barbs with Capt. Angie. and Red team assistant Mike Lum, as the brownies a la mode were served at Grizzly Grill.

With a total 23 points at stake, Team Black needed 12 points to win the Weekender – it needed just 6 points out of the 15 Sunday singles. Team Red needed to get out to a fast start, but for much of the morning, the teams just traded points, allowing Team Black to creep closer to their win.

Dan Kim and PoJen Lin had the rare pleasure of playing in the lead two-some, with no one other than a few squirrels and maybe a bear or two on the course ahead of them. The gentlemen drew their match and retired early to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Nakoma clubhouse for lunch.

Behind them, Lawrence Ma finished another Weekender with two points, beating Carol Lee, 1-Up. They were there to see one of the most lopsided singles matches in Weekender history, as Jon Chong handed Liang Chen an 8 & 7 drubbing. Jon shot a front-side 40 that included a chip-in birdie, and was 6-up at the turn. The match was closed out by the 12th, as Jon the big brother avenaged Alex the little brother’s 8 & 7 loss in Four-Ball a day before, in just about the same manner.

Too bad Jon couldn’t be there to help another one of his little brothers, as Chris Chong showed up in a red shirt (c'mon, man…) and went down to Song-Min Wang, 4 & 2, in the next group. Song-Min’s excellent two-day showing earned him Team Red’s MVP award. But Jim Hwang picked up his teammate, with a 2 & 1 win over Alvin Tang, whose bad juju included a ball that moved while he took a putter back, and a dreaded “T.C. Chen” (“Two-Chip Chen”, as in a double-hit).

In the battle of the law firms, the small but nimble Fortis Law Group (Rob Dang) beat the gigantic DLA Piper (Tim Lohse), 7 & 5 – yes, the same difference in physical stature applies as between Rob and Tim. In the same group, the barkeep (Jason “Broken Rack” Kung) racked up the restaurateur (Doug “Zabu Zabu” Tam), 3 & 2. Team Black by this point is just a point and a half away from victory, as Captain Angie approached the 18th at The Dragon. Auntie Angie was able to hold off the Team Black victory for a little while longer, beating a huffing-and-puffing (cigarettes or just plained gassed) Peter Lyu, 2 & 1. But Madam President Karen Fong secured another Black point, with a 5 & 4 win over Richard Hsu.

With Team Black sitting on 11.5 points, it was desperation time for Team Red. Jon Chiu’s 3 & 2 win over Carter Mau got Team Red a little closer, but Jonathan Wong clinched the Team Black victory with a 1-up win over Tom Chu on the 18th.

Captain Angie’s four studs in the anchor matches did manage to win 3 out of 4 points, but it was too little too late. Team Black MVP Mike Gui defeated Brian Miller, 3 & 2, and Davis Lee kept Alex Chong reeling, 5 & 4. The final group took both matches into the 18th hole, with Mike Lum winning in comeback fasion, 1-up, over Tom Yee, while Brian Fong held off Jeff Yee, 1-up. The Sunday Singles were split, 7.5 points each.

It was yet another wonderful road trip for the Dragons – as Jeff Yee wrote over on Facebook, “Great times with great people! This is what’s all about!” We wholeheartedly concur, and would like to commend Mike Gui, Carter Mau, Peter Lyu, Jon Chiu, and Judy Wu for the great job they did coordinating Weekender 2015. The weekend got off to a great start at Grizzly Ranch, a relatively new course that served as a great preview for the tournament courses. Friday night was a lot of fun at The Big House – that was some Mexican and pizzas feast, as arranged by Karen Fong, Brian Fong and Jonathan Wong.

And where will the Dragons be next summer? The Board is pleased to announce that Weekender 2016 will be held in the Foothills, featuring Greenhorn Creek and Saddle Creek. Meanwhile, the Dragon Cup race resumes in August with the monthly club tournament on August 16 at Crystal Springs, the home course to many Dragons. Team Black members will each receive 150 points for their Weekender win, while Team Red members will pick up 50 each. The Dragon Cup standings will be updated this week – Tom Yee (538 points) and Karen Fong (535 points) are projected tomove leap-frog Lawrence Ma at 521 points. Chris Chong (484 points) moves up to fourth and Mike Lum (473 points) drops down to fifth.

Dragons Dominate 2015 Battle of the Bay

JUN 29, 2015

BRENTWOOD, Calif.- Near-total domination is the only way to describe it, as the Dragons ran away with the 2015 edition of the Battle of the Bay at Shadow Lakes on Sunday. With the win, the Dragons and the SFCGC advance to the the NorCal Cup in September, when the two clubs will play against the Sacramento CGC at Hiddenbrooke.

The “BOB”, as it is affectionately known, pits the Dragons against the 12-person teams from the Chinese Golf Federation clubs of Oakland, Marin and San Francisco. Each player plays net matches against a competitor from the other three clubs, with a win resulting in a point, a half receiving 0.5 point, and nada for a loss. If you win all three matches in your group, you earn 3 points.

The Dragons racked up what may have been a record winning total – 32 points, way ahead of second-place SFCGC’s 16.5. Oakland CGC, the 2014 BOB champion, came in third at 12.5 points, with Marin CGC finishing at 11 points. The two best teams from the BOB advance to the NorCal Cup, which is an 8-person team match against the winner of the Sacramento valley team match pitting Sacramento CGC against the Vagabonds Golf Club.

How dominant were the Dragons? 9 of 12 Dragons won all 3 of their matches, and none were shut out. Mike Lum, the only Dragon to receive strokes (1 pop) from any opponent, set the tone early with a 3-pointer. Brian Miller, Peter Lyu, Angie Wong, Steve Tsang and Jim Hwang all followed with 3 points each. Steve’s 74 in fact was the field low gross. Jon Chong, Alex Chong and Karen Fong also beat everybody in their respective groups for 9 more points. Mieko Sugimoto (2.5 points), Song-Min Wang (1.5 points) and Jon Chiu (1 point) added to the winning total. The Dragons, well, took everything but one sleeve of logo balls for the KPs. And yeah, we were the host club.

Each Dragons BOB team member received a 100 Dragon Cup points for their terrific performance (not to mention a lovely engraved stemless wine glass), and that has shaken up the top 10 of the list. Defending champion Mike Lum (423 points) is closing fast on leader Lawrence Ma (471). Karen Fong, Jon Chiu, Steve Tsang and Mieko Sugimoto have all vaulted into the top 10.

The Dragons will continue with the match play theme in July, as the members head to the Sierras for Weekender 2015. Both captains, Angie Wong and Jon Chong, have got to like what they saw at Shadow Lakes. Incidentally, the Saturday four-ball match-ups have been submitted to the TD, and will be unveiled later this week, with an entertaining Q&A with Uncle Jon and Auntie Angie.

Dragons Tame Lake Merced At Long Last

JUN 14, 2015

DALY CITY, Calif.- As a group, the Dragons have struggled against net par all season, having put up a lot of big, ugly, black numbers through three tournaments this season. All things pointed toward another rough one, as the Dragons returned to Lake Merced GC, a course that has traditionally yielded the highest scoring average of our prior seasons.

But last Thursday, at last, the Dragons began to put up some red numbers and come to grips with the hidden gem of San Francisco. Yes, Karl The Fog was with us for much of the day, and the prevailing wind blew. But a quarter of an inch of rain (!!!) fell on the course a day earlier, the greens were appreciably slower than past years, and most importantly, the Dragons took advantage of the new tees configuration at Lake Merced. Instead of playing at nearly 6600 yards and over 6200 yards for the A and B Flights respectively, the gentlemen played from about 6300 and 5900 yards, and the ladies were on the new forward course at 5,023 yards.

Jon Chiu shot his best score ever at Lake Merced, an 84/net 68, to win the A Flight. Lake Merced member Alvin Tang finished solo second (82/net 70), while Steve Tsang (85/net 71) bested Wyatt Lin (81/net 71) for third place. Also of note, Mike Lum shot the field low gross, a 79 believed to be his best round at the course as well.

In the B Flight, Mike Gui is starting to find some decent form, as the lefty shot 89/net 67 for the win. Rookie Tina Eng won the long drive contest for the ladies, and took 2nd with an 85/net 72. Angela Wong (101/net 73) beat Judy Wu (86/net 73) for third place. Dragon Cup leader Lawrence Ma struggled on his home course, stumbling to an 89/net 75, no doubt still reeling from his humiliating Club Match Play loss to Karen Fong earlier in the month.

Other notables, or statistical oddities, include Peter Lyu’s 82/net 72 – ho-hum net par, not quite good enough to place, but somehow good enough to rack up two gross skins and two net skins, a rather profitable day for the good doctor. Another one was Joe Kwok’s utterly mediocre 83/net 76 – good for two skins, a KP on the 12th, and the A flight long drive contest, a sprinkler head-propelled Top Flight X-out of questionable legality that somehow ended up 209 yards from the 18th Green.

Turning to the Dragon Cup race, Lawrence’s mediocre finish (9th) was still good enough to help him stay in the lead, at 471 points. Tom Yee (388 points), however, is creeping a little closer, coming off of his appearance at the Tucson Invitational and a good showing (5th) at Lake Merced. Richard Hsu (343), Chris Chong (334) and Mike Lum (323) are tightly bunched from 3rd to 5th place. Mike Gui (288 - 6th) and Jon Chiu (255 - 9th) made the big moves into the Top 10 with their wins. The full Dragon Cup leaderboard will be updated this week at the the club website.

After the golf, the Dragons gathered for the traditional Weekender Draft Dinner at the clubhouse, and this year, we had the added bonus of Game 4 of the NBA Finals – The Warriors prevailed, happily. Captains Jon Chong and Angie Wong conducted the draft while the members enjoyed dinner and cheered on the Warriors, and unveiled their picks at halftime. The two captains sat down with the Management to discuss their picks and this year’s Weekender, and their Q&A will be published in days to come, as we look forward to our road trip to Whitehawk Ranch and The Dragon.

The Dragons, in the meantime, will be hosting the Battle of the Bay on June 28 at Shadow Lakes. Captain Angie Wong is looking not only to win the BOB again, but to get back to the NorCal Cup and win that too in the fall. We will be playing against the Chinese Golf Federation clubs from SF, Oakland and Marin. The Dragons’ 12-person team was just announced this afternoon, and the Club does have 8 more spots available to Dragons members who would like to play golf with us that Sunday. The deadline is this Tuesday, so please register online if you wish to play.

MISC.

2015 SEATTLE LABOR DAY INVITATIONAL: The Seattle-Cascade CGC cordially invites all Dragons to enter the 2015 Seattle Labor Day Invitational. The Labor Day invite is the best tournament on the Federation calendar, usually featuring the best championship courses in the Northwest, full 144-person fields, and awesome prizes and hospitality. This year’s tournament courses are the Olympic and Cascade courses of The Gold Mountain Golf Club, the host of the 2006 USGA Public Links and the 2011 US Junior Amateur. The fee is just $300, and the entry form and brochure are attached here. Please contact Karen Fong for more information about the Dragons’ plans – potentially there could be a side trip to Chambers Bay, the host of the US Open next week!

REGISTRATION FOR CRYSTAL SPRINGS NOW OPEN: The Club tournament for August at Crystal Springs is now open registration, as are the tournaments for the remainder of the season. A reminder that all members must play three (3) club tournaments per season to qualify for preferred renewal. So those of you who have yet to make a single start, we hope to see you at Crystal, at Shadow Lakes (9/12), and the Club Championship (Poppy Ridge).

Chris Chong & Karen Fong Notch First Wins at Eagle Vines

MAY 10, 2015

NAPA, Calif. - It has been a strange month or so, weather-wise. After a record warm winter with no rain, we saw April showers and unseasonably cool temperatures (hey, snow in the Sierras!), just as San Francisco became the center of the golf world. Kind of sad that the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic (Lake Merced), the WGC-Match Play (Harding), and the USGA Men’s Four-Ball (Olympic) in consecutive weeks all got less than Chamber of Commerce weather. But that’s how it goes in Northern California.

Karl the Fog followed the Dragons from Poppy Hills all the way to Eagle Vines yesterday, and greeted us in Napa with a chilly morning on the range. The sun did, however, break through by the turn, and it turned out to be a pleasant day to play in the wine country. Not too hot, not too breezy either.

Not that the Dragons lit up the course. The Eagle Vines greens were speedy, but somehwat bumpy still from an early-season punch. The bunkers likely drove up the score of anybody who found them – on an otherwise fairly well-conditioned course, several were muddy and inconsistent, as well as afflicted by the foot prints of inconsiderate people.

Once again, there were no red numbers on the scoreboard, although Chris Chong did manage to shoot 80/net 72 to win the A Flight. Tom Yee finishes 2nd again (82/net 75), followed by Paul Loui’s field low gross 79/net 77. Defending Dragon Cup champ Mike Lum (80/net 78) beat Joe Kwok (81/net 78) in a card-off for fourth.

Down the B Flight, Karen Fong (96/net 74) broke through with her first win of the year, while Lawrence Ma beat Jeff Yee in a card-off of 89/net 76’s for 2nd. Jon Chong’s 90/net 78 was good enough for fourth.

“Thank God that we denied Lawrence a win,” Dr. Fong said. “We need to get his sorry ass out of our flight!”

With Richard Hsu having to withdraw, Lawrence got some separation atop the Dragon Cup points list. He is projected to remain in the lead at 440 points. Chris Chong is projected at 303 points, and he will be playing in the Chinese Golf Federation’s Tucson Invitational for the enhanced Dragon Cup points next week.

Black Saturday at Poppy Hills

APR 19, 2015

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.- Coming off of a tough outing last month at Cinnabar Hills, the Dragons were looking forward to the return of Poppy Hills on our schedule. The parkland course in the Del Monte Forest has long been a favorite of all NCGA associate clubs, having provided generous members discounts and staged the finals of associate club competitions.

But the newly-renovated Poppy Hills, while critically-acclaimed as an in-land links a la Chambers Bay, was still in the process of maturing. The sand-capped fairways and bent greens remained very firm – they really could have used an El Nino winter down there. While Robert Trent Jones Jr. did widen the fairways (no rough) and reshaped several greens to receive shots played on the ground, a number of pins remained inaccessible due to the firmness. The greens were rolling true, but they were wickedly fast, with numerous subtle breaks that none were familiar with.

It turned out to be a brutally difficult challenge for the Dragons, on a seasonal but nonetheless chilly day, thanks to Karl The Fog. No one broke net par in either flight, not even close. There were even three scores in the A Flight that exceeded a 100. As the Dragons came in and congregated in our private dining room, one black number after the another went up on the scoreboard – the new red Sharpie the Board had requisitioned remained in the Tournament Director’s backpack.

All the remarkable, then, that Neal Ho managed to break 80, shooting 79/net 76 to take first place in the A Flight, beating Tom Yee (85/net 76) in a card-off. Neal also had two KPs on the day, an indication of how good the ball-striking was on Saturday. There was a 3-way tie at net 78 among Chris Chong, Jim Hwang, and Ron Synn that also was broken by card-off, in that order, for 3rd, 4th and 5th place. Defending Dragon Cup champion Mike Lum started birdie-birdie, but had to settle for 83/net 80.

In the B Flight, Richard Hsu (101/net 77) and Lawrence Ma (93/net 78) were able to continue their early-season good play, finishing 1st and 2nd low net respectively. Rich might be the one guy who is very comfortable on sand-capped fairways, playing out of the Cal Club. Davis Lee (99/net 80) bested Mieko Sugimoto (93/net 80) in a card-off for third place.

…Well, let’s just move on. No need to go into the cruelsome details of this one. But hey, Karen Fong and Jon Chiu ate a whole cow at good ol’ Korean Spring BBQ on the way home!

Lawrence and Richard are now tied atop the Dragon Cup Points list, projected with 320 points each. The full, updated Dragon Cup points list will be available at the club website this week.

The Dragons will head north to Napa in May, to take on Eagle Vines in May. The best holes from the old Club Shakespeare course, along with a few Johnny Miller holes, should be more familiar and friendly to the Dragons. The tournament is Saturday, May 9, with an entry deadline of May 2.

The 2015 Opener: The Massacre On Cinnabar Hills

MAR 15, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif. - When the Dragons arrived Saturday morning at Cinnabar Hills, everything just seemed right. The sun was out, a few whispy clouds decorated the powder blue skies, the temperature was on its way into the 80’s, and there was not a breath of wind. Old friends and new faces were happy to be together, ready for some golf.

This should have been an ideal early spring day for golf – no, let’s be clear, it doesn’t get any better than this down there. The greens were rolling pretty true, and a significance defense for the course – the wind – was down.

But the Dragons, opening the season for the first time in March, were baffled and battered by Cinnabar Hills, a course not unfamiliar to a number of our Peninsula and South Bay members. The scores were way worse than our last outing here. Only 7 in the A Flight broke 90, and there were 10 scores over a 100 (a few landed off of the FM dial). There were only two net scores in the red, and barely so.

Mike Lum, the defending Dragon Cup champion, had no problems on his de facto home course – he opened the season the way he closed it, with a solid performance, a 74/net 71 to take 1st Low Net in the A Flight. With the new all-net Dragon Cup format, it is about playing to the best of your ability, and Mike, who would have won last year anyway with this format, shows again the quality and consistency of his play. The field low gross 74 is 8 clear of the next best, by Brian Miller, who looked and played like a sleep-deprived dad of a 9-day old. This is a great start for Mike in the new, to-be-named Low Gross Scoring trophy, make no mistake about it.

The 2013 club co-champion Steve Tsang finished 2nd at 84/net 74, followed by Liang Chen (88/net 74, lost card-off to Steve) and Tom Yee (85/net 75). Down in the B Flight, Lawrence Ma, coming off of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad injury-plaqued 2014 and making his long march back to A Flight, cobbled together an 86/net 70 to take 1st Low Net. Second low net went to Richard Hsu (96/net 72), as Mieko Sugimoto (87/net 74) edged Davis Lee (91/net 74) in a card-off for third.

It’s hard to figure out what happened. The winter was the driest and warmest on record, plenty of nice days to play and practice. There were some difficult pin positions on the undulating and slick greens of Cinnabar, but that’s nothing new for this place. One hole in particular stood out – Par-5 Sixth on the Canyon 9 wrecked many cards, numerous max 10’s were turned in there.

Still, a day on the golf course is better than a day sitting at home binging on “House of Cards.” The post-tournament luncheon gave the members a chance to catch up, have a burger, pick up the 2015 Members Gift, and meet the new members – Chris Wong, Rex Ishibashi, Tim Choy, John Chu*, and Tina Eng. John and Tina, who reside in Hillsborough, joined the club last Friday, having found us through our friend Paul Tan at Peninsula Golf. This John Chu, like good ol’ John “Pinky” Chu, is also a graduate of UCLA, but he’s younger, better looking, and plays better golf (7.0 index) – but we still love “Pinky” anyway. Tina, a 12 handicap, is a good player in her own right – she had two KPs and a couple of skins in her first outing.

Cinnabar Hills served as the qualifier for the 2015 Club Match Play Brackets, and commissioner Carter Mau is working on the seeding and will advise separately. This year, the Commish will try to involve everyone who entered the qualifier – like March Madness, there will be a few “play-in” matches/rounds. The winner and runner-up will split the pot at the year-end Awards Banquet, 80/20.

The April tournament, meanwhile, has opened for registration. Poppy Hills re-opened last year to rave reviews – the parkland course in the Del Monte Forest above Pebble Beach has been transformed by architect Robert Trent Jones Jr into a firm-and-fast, sand-capped inland links a la Bandon Trails and Chambers Bay (another RTJ Jr course, host of the 2015 US Open). The registration deadline is looming – March 31 – so please register via the club website.

The Big Coyote: Mike Lum Crowned 2014 Dragon Cup Champion

OCT 20, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif.- Mike Lum, on the strength of a Sunday 73, clinched the 2014 Dragon Cup title, as well as the field low gross honors at the inaugural 36-hole Club Championship of the Dragons Golf Club at Coyote Creek’s tournament course. With 805 points for the season, Mike overtook defending Dragon Cup co-champion Paul Loui (680 points) for the big bronze dragon.

Wyatt Lin, who opened with a 73 on the Valley Course on Saturday, closed with a 77/net 71. He tied Mike for low gross, but his two-day net score of 136 easily won the A Flight net division. Wyatt also held off Brian Miller, who took 2nd low gross in the A Flight (80-80 160), for the 2014 Rookie of the Year title, finishing 10th with 515 points to Brian’s 445 points. The A Flight 2nd low net honors went to Bobby Chang (net 65-82 147).

In the B Flight, the other 2013 Dragon Cup co-champion Steve Tsang, cruised to an easy 1st low net title (net 69-77 146). The closing gross 77 perhaps is indication that Steve may return to the A Flight ranks next year. The second low net honors was awarded to Sam Chiu (net 71-81 152).

And then there is the “Enigma.” After opening with a brilliant 80/net 66 that led both gross and net flights, Ron Synn went the wrong way on Sunday, limping in with a 101/net 89. Still, the 155 gross total was good enough for 1st low gross (!), and the 200-point day vaulted him to third place in the final Dragon Cup standings at 670 points. To be fair, the Tournament Course was brutal for the entire field, as no one in the B Flight broke net par, with Mike Gui’s 94/net 75 being the best of the day. Carter Mau’s closing 100 got him the 2nd low gross title (91-100 161).

It sure looked like 2014 was going to be Mike Lum’s year, as he opened with a 69/net 64 at San Juan Oaks. But then Jon Chiu and Jim Hwang, who would remain factors all year, overtook him at Yocha Dehe. The nemesis that is Lake Merced handed Mike an 82, but he still managed to retake the Dragon Cup lead in June. Mike helped Auntie Angie’s Team Red to its first-ever Weekender victory, but Paul Loui was beginning to make his run. Uncle Loui won yet another field low gross title at the Labor Day Invitational of the Chinese Golf Federation Invitational in Victoria, BC – those enhanced points plus his tie-breaker win at Stone Tree vaulted him ahead of Mike in September. It should also be noted that Chris Chong briefly held the Dragon Cup lead, with his consistency all season, as well as the strong performance of the club’s NCGA Associate Club Championship squad, which finished third at Spyglass Hill.

Congratulations to Mike Lum, Paul Loui and Ron Synn, for their terrific year. They’ll be honored, along with Rookie of the Year Wyatt Lin, at the Holiday Party & Awards Banquet at the Olympic Club, Sunday, November 24. Be sure to look for your eVite/RSVPs via email shortly, as well as prepare to renew for the 2015 season. The Board has an amazing year planned, which will be announced shortly as well.

Club Championship '14: Uncle Loui Stumbles, Wyatt Lin Leads

OCT 17, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif.- The inaugural 36-hole finale of the Dragons Golf Club got under way today on the Valley Course of Coyote Creek Golf Club. Wyatt Lin leads the field with an opening 73 (net 65), while the current Dragon Cup points leader and defending cup champion Paul Loui posted a surprising 87/net 82.

Coming into the Club Championship, which awards double Dragon Cup points, Uncle Loui (610 points) leads Mike Lum(565) Chris Chong (530), and Jon Chiu (500).

Whatever Bobby Chang is eating over there in Berkeley must be working, because he went off with a 77/net 65, which ties for the lead in the net division in the A Flight. Mike Lum is tied with Bobby for second low gross with a 77/net 72. Kirk Tang is currently third low net (net 74). Brian Miller, who currently leads Wyatt Lin by just 10 points in the Rookie of the Year race, is lurking at 80/net 75.

Over in the B Flight, the enigma showed up again – Ron Synn fired an 80/net 66 today, which is both low gross and low net in the B Flight. 2013 Dragon Cup co-champion Steve Tsang is 2nd low gross and net at 82/net 69. Jon Chiu stays in the Dragon Cup conversation with an 87/net 71. Sam Chiu is also in at 94/net 71.

Based on the current leaderboard, Mike Lum is projected to win the Dragon Cup with a total of 765 points, with Ron Synn (projected 710 points) and Uncle Loui (projected 670 points) coming in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

But, we’re only half way there, and the much more challenging Tournament Course beckons. Good luck to everyone competing tomorrow at Coyote Creek!

Who's Your Uncle?: Loui Takes Dragon Cup Lead

SEP 15, 2014

NOVATO, Calif. - Paul Loui, the three-time defending Dragon Cup champion, has once again seized the late-season lead for the big bronze dragon, after a pair of impressive wins in September. With just the Club Championship at Coyote Creek remaining on the schedule, Uncle Loui leads the race with 610 points, with Mike Lum (565) and Chris Chong (530) trailing.

Chris held the Dragon Cup lead ever so briefly in late-August, after he ably led the Club’s NCGA Associate Club Championship team to a third place finish in Pebble Beach. That lead lasted a matter of days, as both he and Paul teed it up in at the Chinese Golf Federation’s Labor Day Invitational in Victoria, BC. Once again, Uncle Loui won the field low gross title, shooting 75-75 on a pair of tough courses at Westin Bear Mountain Resort, and vaulted up the Dragon Cup leaderboard with the enhanced points.

And Paul has just padded that lead some more, as he posted a 77 at Stone Tree last weekend, good enough for 1st low gross in the A Flight (in a tie-break vs Mike Lum). Wes Chong, fresh off of the all-star summer softball coaching circuit, finished 3rd low gross (80). In the net division, Neal Ho continues his strong recent play, posting the actual field low gross (72), but also the A flight low net, a 68. Kirk Tang (79/net 69) and Peter Lyu (80/net 71) finished 2nd and 3rd low net, respectively.

Over in the B Flight, we knew that the quiet assassin, Mieko Sugimoto, was going to eventually show up, and there she was, with her first win of the year, posting a net 73 for 1st low net. The scores were sky-high in the B Flight, as no one broke net par on the evil Johnny Miller track. A net 80, by Jonathan Wong, was actually good enough for 2nd low net, and Mike Gui’s net 81 held up for 3rd low net.

2013 Dragon Cup co-champion Steve Tsang, who has been relegated to the second divsion, posted an 87 for the B Flight low gross. (The dude was the Most Improved Player last season! WTF?) Angie Wong (91/net 81) and Jason Kung (96/net82) finished 2nd and 3rd low net gross respectively.

A 45-point lead in the Dragon Cup this late would have been difficult to overcome in previous seasons, but this year, the Club Championship is contested over two days and double Dragon Cup points are up for grabs. Mathematically, if Uncle Loui shows up and posts 7th or worse in net or gross, he would finish the season at 630 points. This means anybody at 400 points or better (Jonathan Wong, 10th) still have a shot at winning it all, if he or she can win the low net (240 points) in either division.

Dragons Take 3rd Place at 2014 NCGA Associate Club Championship

AUG 26, 2014

CONGRATULATIONS to Jon Chiu, CP Liu, Chris Chong, and Jim Hwang, who fired a Day 2 126 to finish 3rd at the 32nd Annual NCGA Associate Club Championship! This is the Club’s best-ever finish in the championship finals, which took place Spyglass Hills and Poppy Hills the past two days down in Monterey. The boys each earned 110 Dragon Cup points for their terrific run. Photos and fish stories are over at the Club’s Facebook Group page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DragonsGC/), more coverage to follow, and here’s the official NCGA coverage:

http://www.ncga.org/2013/11/14/32nd-annual-ncga-associate-club-championship/

Uncle Loui Leads Dragons to Victory at Roddy

AUG 18, 2014

After an epic road trip to the Central Coast last month for the Weekender, the Dragons returned to regular season action at Roddy Ranch, and played with our friends from Century Club in what’s become an annual summer tradition. Paul Loui, playing on his home course, shot a field low gross 71, while Bobby Chang is rounding back into his old form with a 79/net 68 for first low net.

The enigmatic Ron Synn is also getting back into A Flight shape – he fired an 82/net 69 and beat Kirk Tang’s 79/net 69 in a card-off for 2nd low net. Second low gross went to Brian Miller (79), who ought to get something extra for lugging his bag and hoofing it up and down Roddy Ranch on foot. Mike Lum must have been thinking about charging more for pulling teeth, as he stumbled to a 79/net 77, still good for third gross. The course played very tough as the Sunday pins, often just 3 paces off the edge, were presented.

There was only one flight at Roddy, as half of the normal 40-person field went to our friends at Century. In the team competition against Century, the Dragons prevailed by 30 shots in a total aggregate net scores game. The margin could have been larger had the net scores of Bobby and Kirk counted. Neal Ho, who opted to play for Century instead of the Dragons, shot 72/net 68 incidentally – that would have been good for 1st low net in our club’s medal tournament or at least a card-off with Bobby, but since Neal signed up with Century, he got nothing. C'est la vie!

In the updated Dragon Cup points list, Mike Lum leads with 485 points, but Ron has snucked into contention, sitting at second with 440 points. Chris Chong (3rd, 375 points) and Paul Loui (T8, 310 points) are a couple of guys to watch in the next two weeks. Both guys are playing for big points at the Victoria Labor Day Invitational in British Columbia, and Uncle Loui of course is the defending champion of that tournament. Winning in the Northwest is becoming a formula for Paul, as the Labor Day invite has set up late season runs for the Dragon Cup title.

ANGIE-ROO WINS WGANC MATCH PLAY AS DRAGONS HEAD TO NCGA FINALS

The Dragons are having an outstanding year on the Northern California amateur golf scene, if you haven’t noticed on Facebook. Angie Wong won the 83rd Annual Match Play Championship fo the Women’s Golf Association of Northern California on August 7 at the Olympic Club. This was one hell of a great run, as Angie won four matches in three days on the Ocean Course, and she was dominating – 3 & 2, 5 & 3, 5 & 4, and 4 & 3. Former Dragon and Olympian Tim Dien no doubted helped Auntie Angie as he caddied on Day 1.

Meanwhile, our NCGA Associate Club Championship squad qualified in style for the championship finals. Jim Hwang, Jon Chiu, CP Liu and Chris Chong won the Sectional Qualifier with a net 121 at Poppy Ridge late July. Jim went nuts with gross 37 on the front nine to set the tone, and the rest of the gang took care of business. The guys will be playing in the two-day championship finals at Poppy Hills and Spyglass Hills, August 25 and 26. Good luck and go get ‘em!

At Last: Team Red's Weekender Has Come Along

JUL 14, 2014

PISMO BEACH,Calif. — After four years of frustration, Team Red finally broke through and won its first Weekender team match title. It was nip and tuck for a while, but Captain Angie Wong’s side in the end prevailed comfortably, 14.5 to 9.5.

For the uninitiated (and we don’t know why you’re not, it’s our signature event), the Weekender consists of 8 Four-Ball matches on Day 1 and 16 singles matches on Day 2. 24 total points up for grabs, and 12.5 wins it. Team Black has won every Weekender in the club’s young life, with Lawrence Ma and Paul Loui each guiding Team Black to two victories, while Wes Chong (0-3) and Auntie Angie pray for the law of averages to work. On paper, Captain Jon Chong’s Team Black looked as formidable as ever. Rising young guns Jon Chiu, Jim Hwang and Alvin Tang are joined by steady veterans like Paul Loui, Greg DeForest and Jeff Yee. The trending Tom Yee has just hit his lowest career index.

And Lil Jon and Slim delivered at the wind-swept and rugged La Purisima, with a lead-off 2 & 0 win over Mike Lum and Dan Kim to open the Day 1 Four-Ball Matches. So did Alvin and Tom Chu, who comfortably defeated the steady eddie pairing of CP Liu and Karen Fong, 4 & 2.

Uncle Loui and rookie Davis Lee drew a tough match-up – the combustible Ron Synn and a super-motivated Chris Chong – and went down 5 & 4. The biggest beat-down of the weekend, however, was administered by Mike Gui and the ginsu-slinging Douglas Tam, in a 7 & 5 drubbing of Jonathan Wong and Rob Dang. It was all heading in the wrong direction again for Auntie Angie, when the Lake Merced duo of Gerg DeForest and Jeff Yee took it to rookie Wyatt Lin and the Team Red captain, 5 & 4. Team Black was leading, 3 to 2.

But the injury bug, which would become a bigger story as the weekend progressed, would play a role. Maiko Masuda, suffering from a terribly cold, could not make the trip, leaving Tom Yee in a 1-on-2 against Brian Fong and Mieko Sugimoto. As much as we want to believe in the Plinker Supreme, who chips and putts like nobody’s business, it was a tough deal for Tom, and give him credit for taking it deep into the back nine before going down 3 & 1.

Then, Peter Lyu and Martin Chang broke through in what many considered an upset, by beating the very experienced pairing of Carter Mau and Tim Lohse, 3 & 0. Team Red could have tacked on some more, but Richard Hsu and Lawrence Ma could not hang on to their 3 up lead against Felix and Oscar, er, Fuzzy Pourahamadi and Jon Chong, as the old dudes overcame their squabbling (“fuzzy” math) and scratched out a half-point. Team Red held a tenuous 4.5 to 3.5 lead after Day 1.

After sumptuous sunset dinner at the Marisol back at The Cliffs, the Dragons headed up north and picked up Day 2 Singles at Hunter Ranch. The aforementioned injury story got worse for Team Black, as Uncle Loui got dehydrated again, and could not make his start, conceding a point to Martin Chang. With Maiko’s singles match against Wyatt already conceded, Team Black began the final day in deep hole, 3.5 to Red’s 6.5.

You have to give Uncle Jon’s squad a lot of credit, as they mounted a furious charge, beginning with Lil Jon’s 4 & 3 takedown of Brian. In the same foursome, Richard would get that point back for Team Red, beating Jim, 3 & 1. But Team Black would win four out of the next five matches to level the competition at 8.5 points each. Rob beat Angie, 3 & 2, and Tom Chu destroyed Ron, 5 & 3. Jeff Yee beat Uncle CP, 4 & 3, while The Jonaroo overcame an early deficit to easily beat Lawrence, 5 & 4. There could have been another black point in this stretch, but Peter came from 3 down to win his match against Greg.

Doug, Captain Angie, Alvin, and Mieko before their rounds at Hunter Ranch.
But temperature in Paso Robles shot up to 106 degrees - too RED hot as it turned out for the “Men in Black”. Of the remaining 7 matches, Team Red would win 5 (not counting the medical-injury concessions). Douglas slow boiled Tom Yee, 3 & 1 to put Team Red up 9.5 to 8.5. Mike Lum put Team Red on the brink of victory, with a 1-up win over Davis.

Finally, and appropriately, it was left up to Chris Chong, who came into this Weekender with miserable 0-fer team record, to clinch the Weekender 2014 for Team Red, with a 3 & 2 win over Alvin. “I’ve really wanted to earn this baby,” said Chris at the awards luncheon, clutching his first DGC varsity letter patch.

Tim picked up the last Black point of the day, in a back-and-forth battle with Karen, 2 up. Wyatt and Martin were out having a relaxing Sunday round of golf (later joined Uncle Loui for a few holes, which we’re glad to see), while Mike Gui put the hammer on Fuzzy, 5 & 3. Captain Jon lost 4 & 3, to Dan. Mieko in her first weekender goes 2-0-0, with a 2 & 1 win over Carter, to end yet another great weekend on the road.

With the 36-hole medal play competition moved to the year-end Club Championship, the individual honors now goes to the most valuable players on each team. Team Red had several standouts – Peter, Chris, Mieko, Doug and Martin all won two points each – but Auntie Angie awarded the MVP to Mike Gui, who won his matches going away. For Team Black, Lil Jon, Tom Chu, and Jeff Yee were undefated. Captain Jon bestowed the MVP honors to Jon Chiu, who got Team Black off to good starts both days. The Board certainly applauds the selection, as Jon did a great job in his first season as Tournament Director, juggling the three-ring scoring circus that is the Weekender.

Most members, however, would agree that the competition is secondary to the good times together on the road. We were missing Judy Wu, who stayed home this year with her baby, but she was here certainly in spirit, beginning with the raucus Friday night dinner at Giuseppe’s in Pismo Beach. We roll in style, we really do. After a fun Friday afternoon at Monarch Dunes links, we checked in at our ocean-front resort, The Cliffs, and piled into the private dining room at Giuseppe’s down the beach and enjoyed a bountiful Italian meal, family style – the whole deal, bruschetta, antipasti, bowl of salad, a red and a white pasta to choose from, some awesome chicken, a polenta-like potato and veggies as sides –, along with dueling shots of something red and something black. The sunset was gorgeous on Saturday night at Marisol, as the wine flowed freely, thanks to CP Liu and Richard Hsu’s discerning selections. The taco bar for the awards luncheon at Hunter Ranch was perfecto, as some of us were able to get in in time to see Germany defeat Argentina, 1-0, in the World Cup finals.

Planning for Weekender 2015, meanwhile, has already gotten under way, with Mike G and Carter heading up the committee. Yes, we are going back to Lake Tahoe – details forthcoming. The Dragon Cup race now resumes with Mike Lum atop the leaderbaord at 375 points, with Peter Lyu, also benefitting from the Team Red team win, sitting second at 310. Jon Chiu (300) and Ron Synn (295) are close behind in third and fourth respectively. Chris Chong is at 290 and has already booked his tickets for the Labor Day Invitational in Victoria, BC, going after the big points at Bear Mountain Resort. The club in August will continue with a joint tournament at Roddy Ranch with our friends from the Century Club. As always, sign up on the website early!

Lake Merced Shows Dragons No Mercy

JUN 21, 2014

DALY CITY, Calif. - The inside joke at Lake Merced Golf Club goes, “‘Merced’ is 'mercy’ in Spanish, but there is none of that at Lake Merced.” And once again, the Dragons racked up the highest scores of the season at the 1922 classic with hardly any OB, and not a single water hazard.

Neither flight had a single score under net par, and no one broke 80, on this the fifth annual club tourament at Lake Merced. There was nothing unsual going on. The LPGA Tour pros are done, and so were the US Open qualifiers – standard member’s set-up for Lake Merced was presented to the Dragons. It was a classic early summer day in Daly City, with some morning fog that yielded only briefly to the sun. Nope, no mercy.

Mike Lum managed to shoot field low gross again, but it was an 82. Dr. Brian Fong, a rookie based in LA, managed an 83 on his maiden voyage around Lake Merced, beating Joe Kwok in a card-off. The A-Flight Net title went to Peter Lyu (net 72), a guy who is probably used to playing hard golf courses, coming over from TPC Stonebrae. Angie Wong is starting to figure out the site of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, with a net 73. Defending Dragon Cup champ Steve Tsang finished third low net at net 74.

Down in the B Flight, a net 75 by Po-Jen Lin won the division, with Angela Wong having lost in card-off. Alicia Sinclair in her season debut finished third low net with a 78. Jonathan Wong had the home course advantage, and rightfully finished first low gross in the B – with a 91, in a card-off over Ron Synn. Jon Chiu finished third at 93.

With his field low gross finish, Mike Lum (250 points) reclaimed the lead in the Dragon Cup race, but is only 10 points ahead of Jon Chiu. Jonathan Wong is at 230 points, while Jim Hwang (DNP) falls back to fifth (190) behind Ron Synn (195).

Following the tournament, the traditional Weekender Draft Dinner took place at the Cypress Bar at the Lake Merced Club House. Our thanks to Judy Wu for arranging a sumptuous affair. Earlier in the day, we also honored Lake Merced GM Donna Lowe and head golf professional Dan Burke, for their gracious hospitality over the years, even though the golf course continues to beat up the Dragons.

On paper, it appears that Team Black is looking stacked again, and poised to stay undefeated in Weekender history. Auntie Angie’s Team Red took Dragon Cup points leader Mike Lum with the very first pick, but first-time captain Jon Chong countered with Tom Yee, who is trending in the right direction with his lowest career index. Auntie Angie has four rookies on her team – Brian Fong, Wyatt Lin, Mieko Sugimoto and Douglas Tam – while Uncle Jon took only one, what’s his name… oh yeah, Davis Lee, “don’t know him, probably a nice guy,” in the words of his captain.

Angie also took in more of the walking wounded, in Mike Gui (dinged-up shoulder) and Lawrence Ma (two surgeries and an epidural already). It’s a good thing that Team Red has the brother-sister doctor / medical team in Karen and Brian Fong, plus Dr. Dan Kim. Team Black’s Jonathan Wong, Jon Chiu and Jim Hwang are all in the Top 5 of the Dragon Cup points list, and gunning for the Dragon Cup title. Greg DeForest won at San Juan Oaks and played well for the Club’s NCGA Four-Ball team. Last and definitely least, Martin Chang is on Team Red, while Uncle Jon happily settled for founding board member Fuzzy Pourahmadi.

On the other hand, Douglas made a strong debut at San Juan Oaks as a rookie (1st low gross), and steady old Chris Chong (1st low net at Yocha de He) will keep the rookies relaxed yet focused on Team Red. Classy Uncle CP Liu, who played great at Weekender Tahoe, will carve you up with a smile. Richard Hsu is trending too and loves going on the road, checking off course after course on an outstanding personal bucket list. Uncle Jon took Tom Chu because Alvin Tang says “He’s a good dude” – no doubt he is, but what about the golf? Club Captain Emeritus Uncle Loui meanwhile is eating at Din Tai Fung in Taipei, and watching a lot of soccer, either his kids’ games or the World Cup. The current Club Captain Peter Lyu, playing for Team Red, is coming off of a solid finish at Lake Merced, and leading our defending champion Battle of the Bay team (Sunday, June 29, at Eagle Vines in Napa). And let’s not forget that a Chong hasn’t captained a winning Weekender team yet – just ask Wes.

By this Friday, the two captains will submit to the Board the blind draw for the Day 1 Four-Ball and Day 2 Singles. Stay tuned for the pairings and further match analysis

Youth is Served at Yocha

MAY 19, 2014

Last Saturday, the Dragons made their way to Yocha Dehe, our first visit to one of the best new golf courses in California. A strong contingent from the A Flight was present, including Dragon Cup leader cup co-leader Mike Lum, coming off of a tremendous start at San Juan Oaks. But this time around, the youngsters, particularly in the B Flight, have other ideas.

Jon Chiu fired an 82/net 67 from the same set of tees at Big Mike, and notched his first net division win of the season. Jonathan Wong (82/net 68) and Richard Hsu (94/net 71) finished second and third low net respectively in the B Flight. Jim Hwang beat Jon for the low gross in the B Flight with an 81 (also a net 67). Ron Synn, whose eratic play scares the hell out of whichever flight he falls in, finished second low gross (84), and Jason Kung came in third at 89.

Up in the A Flight, veteran Chris Chong, who has seen and played Yocha a couple of times already, shot 77/net 68 for the Low Net win. Our newest member, Wyatt Lin, placed second with a 77/net 72. Bobby Chang (77/net 72) managed to beat Joe Kwok and Neal Ho in card-offs for third low net. Our thanks, by the way, to Mike for bringing Wyatt into the fold.

The field low gross honors went to another rookie, Brian Miller, who shot 74. Uncle Loui came in at 76, good for second, while Neal Ho placed third (77).

The latest Dragon Cup points list finds Jon Chiu and Jim Hwang now tied at the top, with 180 points each. Paul Loui, the defending co-champion, is lurking now at third place with 160 points. Mike, who shot 78, felled to fourth.

The Yocha tournament also served as the qualifier for the Dragons’ NCGA Associate Club Championship team roster, as well as the Battle of the Bay, or the “BOB”. Under Capt. Judy Wu’s guidance last season, the Dragons won our first BOB against our rivals from SFCGC, Marin CGC and Oakland CGC. This year, with Oakland CGC playing host, the 12-person team match will take place at Eagle Vines on Sunday, June 29. Club Captain Peter Lyu and Club President Rob Dang will be in touch with the qualifiers of both squads to organize our entries.

Impressive play from the field overall at a tough Yocha course, according to Auntie Angie (87/net 76), who described the weather as perfect but the rough as thick as molasses. Yocha is about the same distance from the Bay Area as another popular Dragons stop – Poppy Hills, which will likely return to our schedule next season – but up at Yocha, there’s Cache Creek, where a few Dragons ended up for the dinner buffet, and we have heard unconfirmed reports of gambling at the tables (“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”). Beats going to the Gilroy Outlet Mall and that In-And-Out on the way home from Pebble, come to think of it.

The Dragons now head into the prime of the golf season, with Lake Merced and The Weekender on the plate. Lake Merced, which just hosted the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic and preparing for the US Open Qualifer on June 2, is in prime tournament shape. Sure enough, the tournament sold out well before the deadline and a waitlist has been started, with petition to the club board under way by Lake Merced-based Dragons to get a few more fellow Dragons into the field for the Thursday, June 19 afternoon shotgun. The traditional Weekender Team Draft dinner hosted by Judy Wu will take place that evening, as rookie captain Jon Chong look to extend Team Black’s dominance and Auntie Angie and Team Red looking to turn things around.

An Auspicious Beginning for Lum and Company at San Juan Oaks

APR 20, 2014

SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif. - Coming into the 2014 Season Opener at San Juan Oaks last Saturday, some of us were wondering whether the Dragons have bitten off more than we can chew.

Tournament Director Jon Chiu threw down the gauntlet – he was sending the A Flight to the 6712-yard blues, with a 72.9/136 course and slope rating, one of the longest and toughest set-up in club history. The B Flight and the Ladies weren’t going to get a break either – B Flight guys were given a 6,342 yards test, while the ladies got a brutal 5,782 and a 74.1/134 course. The rough was up on Saturday, the “native” grasses were viciously wild, the greens were recovering from a recent punch, and a cool breeze got only stronger as the day wore on. None of it bode well for good scoring.

Well, Mike Lum was not impressed.

The big fella made five birdies and an eagle, and opened the season with a stunning 69/net 64. That’s field low net AND field low gross, by a mile. Mike was awarded A Flight low net, as it yielded more Dragon Cup points than low gross, but yeah, he’s the best stick on Saturday, any way you look at it. Liang Chen and Jon Chong also broke net par, shooting 82/net 67 and 84/net 69, respectively, to finish 2nd and 3rd low net.

Wes Chong, the 2009 Dragon Cup champion, showed no rust at all from softball coaching duties and carded a tidy 70/net 75 for first low gross in the A Flight. 2013 Dragon Cup co-champ Paul Loui finished 2nd low gross, with a 76/net 72. Neal Ho (77) edged rookie Kirk Tang for third low gross.

In the B Flight, it was Greg DeForest who prevailed in the Net division with an 87/net 71. 2013 Rookie of the Year Mike Gui turned in an 89/net 71 for 2nd low net. Song-Min Wang shot 91/net 72 for third low net. Rookie and restaurateur Douglas Tam took first low gross in the B Flight with an 87, beating Jim Hwang in a card-off. Jon Chiu’s 88 was good for third place low gross, and two KP’s.

A closer look at the Dragons roster showed why this group held up so well on such a hard golf course. 12 of the 39 who played sported a single-digit index – and guys like Joe Kwok, Erik Lue, Thang Ngo, Brian Miller, Brian Sue, Steve Kobayashi, and Howard Choy couldn’t make it. Only five played with a 17.0 index or higher. 11.7 is what snuck Ron Synn into the A Flight, and relegated Jonathan Wong (12.4) into the B Flight. That gross skins game is going to be tough this year – Mike Lum and Wes Chong rightfully split the San Juan Oaks pot ($280).

No, the other NCGA clubs do not roll like this.

After the golf, the Dragons gathered in the private Fred Couples Dining Room for the 2014 Opener Reception. A catered lunch buffet (the beef was outstanding) arranged by Judy Wu, with NBA Play-Off games going on in the adjacent bar was a great way to catch up with fellow members after the winter break. Rookies Mieko Sugimoto, Douglas Tam, Kirk Tang and Davis Lee all properly introduced themselves to the veterans (with a little dance). The 2014 Members Gift, a personalized Dragons Golf Club bag tag featuring our new logo, was presented to all attendance.

The first Dragon Cup Points List of the year finds Mike Lum and Greg DeForest tied with 120 points each. Wes Chong and Douglas Tam are second at 100 points. The Opener was also the qualifier for the NCGA Associate Club Four-Ball, and Capt. Peter Lyu will be in touch with those who qualified. Mike Gui, the Club Match Playadministrator, will be reproting on the results of the qualifier and unveil the 2014 bracket this week – $550 are in the Match Play pot this year.

The Dragons will head next to Yocha Dehe Golf Club in May. Registration for the Saturday, May 17 tournament is already open, on the new club website, www.dragonsgolfclub.org. There are discussions to overnight in Roseville and play possibly at Twelve Bridges on Sunday before we come home. Yocha, a very new golf course, is widely acclaimed as one of the best in California. The tournament will also serve as the qualifier for the Dragons’ NCGA Associate Club Championship squads.