13-year-old Karl Reyes of Ras Tanura
made history recently by winning the
2017 Club Championship. Karl, who
carries a 14 handicap, managed to
overcome a competitive field of golfers
through four days of stroke play
and head-to-head competition.
by Chris Perez
The Ras Tanura Golf Club (RTGC) produced its youngest club champion in its history with the recent win by 13-year-old Karl Reyes, who captured the 2017 Club Championship over a highly competitive field of golfers through two days of stroke-play qualifying rounds and another two days of straight-up (without the use of the handicap system) matchplay competition.
He played the championship match against Chad Knippen, a top RTGC golfer and the 2017 ‘Udhailiyah Open champion, during a windy weekend at the Surf Side Golf Course. Karl clinched the title after the match was conceded on the 18th green when Knippen missed a pressure-packed birdie putt. Moments before Knippen’s putt, Karl, who was up one going to the 18th hole, made a 30-foot-long putt for par, which put Knippen in a mustmake birdie position to force a playoff.
The thrilling ending was only matched by Karl’s win in the semifinal match the previous day against 2014 club champion Kevin Jansen. All square going to the par-5 18th hole, and with Jansen on the green after his third shot, Karl chipped in from 40 yards over a greenside bunker and hanging branches for an eagle 3 that propelled him to the championship game. Those two spectacular strokes of golf genius provided the killer blows for an epic tale for the rich golf history of RTGC.
“It was a very good experience, and this is one check out of my bucket list,” Karl said. “I practiced weeks before the tournament, hit buckets of balls on the range, and played nine holes every day.”
Karl will be the 26th golfer and youngest ever to be included, in Ras Tanura tradition, to the Surfside Clubhouse’s Wall of Fame. The second-flight winner was Miguel Gutierrez, while the third flight was won by Chet Hankamer.
Wrapping Up the Season
RTGC recently wrapped-up its 2016 -2017 season as it now goes on a threemonth break during the sizzling Ras Tanura summer. The Ace of Aces Tournament was played by an exclusive cast of Monthly Ace winners from throughout the season, September through May, and concluded May 12. The tough two-day stroke play competition was captured by Jose Griman, who carded a two-day gross score of 163 to be crowned as this year’s Ace of Aces. Second place (gross) was secured by Jansen, and third place went to Knippen. The winner of the Net Division was Miguel Herrera with a total net score of 139. He improved from his third-place finish last year. Audie Arce captured second place, and third place went to Jonathan DuPont.
The season-long singles and doubles driven to succeed RT Golf Club produces youngest club champion match play competitions were also concluded last month with the mighty duo of Robb Bouma and Karl Braun winning the Doubles Match Play title. The 2017 Singles Match Play title was captured by Chris Smith after a win over Herrera.
The Gross Player of the Year honors went to Knippen, who easily escaped the pack with his 350-point total. The Net Player of the Year, however, was tightly contested, with DuPont winning over Jose Griman by a single point, and just six points ahead of young Karl. Player of the Year honors are awarded to golfers who accumulated the highest number of points from best scores and most wins from weekly tournaments throughout the season.
The Most Improved Golfer of the Year award also went to Karl following a strong 1.584 improvement factor in his index. “I am very happy about getting the championship, but I know and feel that there is still a lot to learn and a lot of space for improvement,” Reyes said. “My picture at the RTGC clubhouse provides the motivation to get even better. At the same time, it is also a challenge and adds a little bit of pressure on my future scores. This would not be possible without the support of my family, friends, and mentors.”
Fiesta Dinner and Awards Night
The successful golfing season will be capped off by the end-of-season Philippine Fiesta Dinner and Awards Night on June 9, where Karl’s big win will be recognized. All of the winners of the monthly and season-long events will be awarded their prizes from the club in recognition of their excellence.
Also, a new set of RTGC officers will be welcomed during the event. Outgoing president Chet Hankamer shared: “It has been an exciting season and an honor to serve alongside such a hardworking RTGC board, committee members and contractors. The RTGC course is in outstanding shape due to the continual support from RT Recreation.
“Also, golf pro Ali Hazrat has played a huge role in promoting the junior program. In fact, he was a major factor in teaching and mentoring Karl Reyes throughout the year so that he was positioned to win the club championship. I am confident the next RTGC board will continue to improve the RTGC golfing experience,” he added.
The event will again also double up as a membership drive for the upcoming season set to start in September. Golf lessons for members and nonmembers, children, and adults are available. Golf enthusiasts are invited to signup and be a member of the 2017-2018 season by visiting the RT Golf Shack or connecting via www.rastanuragolfclub.com.