Marine Corps Base Hawaii --
Friday the 13th was a lucky day for a team of civilian players during the Commander’s Cup Golf Classic held at Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course.
The four-player team won the recent scramble tournament with a combined score of 58. The first place group said they regularly golf together once a week, occasionally at the Klipper.
“It was solid luck that we won,” said Shaun Chijimatsu, one of the winning four players and an assistant manager at Kahuna’s Recreation Center. “Basically we all played really well (individually) and played well together. We all took turns in getting really good shots.”
The tournament drew 168 to register, aiming for first place and prizes for the best shots at specific holes.
“This is a beautiful course and a beautiful day,” said Michael Hatlen, a Marine who was on a team with several other members of his unit, Combat Logistics Battalion 3. “The course is great but I really also like the tournament sidebar tasks, because they’re fun things to try to do.”
Sunny skies and generally dry green conditions were in favor for Chijimatsu and the other tournament players. However, as luck would have it, the course’s regular windy weather was in full force.
“I noticed the wind is blowing in a different direction than it does usually,” said Dan Dufrene, former Marine Corps Community Service Hawaii health promotions coordinator and now a golfer with the Friends of Kaneohe Bay. “We’ve got more of a southwest wind, but that makes this tournament fun, with a variety of conditions to play in.”
Dufrene and his fellow teammates often golf at Klipper, and he appreciates how the maintenance staff always keeps the course in good shape. Dufrene’s team won the previous Commander’s Cup tournament, and the team members were wearing their first place purple polo shirts when trying to repeat their success. He said their team’s strategy was shooting for as many birdies at as many holes as possible. The strategy worked to keep their score low, moving the team into second place.
Other golfers focused on trying to master the winds, especially at the more challenging holes. Bryan Duprey said his four-player team got off to a fortunate start with a birdie, but changing winds made the rest of the course a challenge.
“Making our putts is the hardest part of the tournament,” said Duprey, a retired gunnery sergeant who now works at the base’s training support center. “We’re also learning to adjust our driving (from the tees of differing distances).”
Duprey said although having good patience is important to play well at the course, his advice to players is to take advantage of the course’s availability and play when they can.
Despite the superstitious tournament date, few golfers reported any negative events during the tournament. Some including, Tyler Turley and Stephen DiLorenzo of 3rd Radio Battalion, said they even had a bit of good luck. The two avoided getting injured by a fast-flying stray golf ball.
For the winning team, Chijimatsu said their strategy was not to have any strategy at all. He said his team tapped into their golf skills just by having fun on a sunny day out.
With regular practice and no pressure, more than one good stroke of luck helped Chijimatsu’s team win.