By Vasinatta Yama – EM TV News, Mt Hagen
A two-day golf tournament held over the weekend at Waghi Valley Golf Course in Jiwaka Province has shown a strong following for the code. Masa Bee, a three-man team from the local Minj area took home the McRoyal Hotel Trophy as reigning champions.
The tournament was sponsored by McRoyal Hotel in Mt Hagen to help revive Waghi Valley Golf Course. The two-day McRoyal Hotel Golf Tournament saw the local Minj golfers, Masa Bee, scoring a 52.84 net score on Saturday, beating SST golfers by 3 points, and Paka Security Service by 4 points. Masa Bee continued to lead on Sunday, blasting at least 40 yards past the flag on the Par-4 fifth.
The local boys who knew the course landscape well, took numerous long drive shots of over 200 yards and sank at least 10 holes of 18. Major Sponsor McRoyal Hotel Managing Director, Lekson Wantaki, who is also a golfer, sponsored the tournament as a community engagement program to encourage young and old golfers to enjoy the sport and bring out raw talents. It is also to support and make a comeback for Waghi Valley Golf Course after being closed for more than a decade.
The Sponsor’s teams, McRoyal 1 and 2 tried their best to beat individual golfers such as John Eggins, Paul Ray, and others, but were 16th place in the ladder.
Fifty teams comprised of 150 golfers from Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, Goroka, Mt Hagen, Chimbu and Jiwaka, took part in the tournament. Core sponsors were two individual golfers, Chris Yabra and Maxwell Paiya, who bought all the minor prizes. The tournament ended on a high, with all the fifty teams receiving a prize each to take home.
Mrs Mary Wantaki also pledged K1000 as a token of appreciation to local teen golfers who took part in the tournament to pursue their sporting carrier.
Golf is starting to become a popular sport in the Highlands Region, but needs more exposure and support.