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!