In an unprecedented turn of events, long time buddies and celebrity colleagues, Derek Ramsay and John Estrada won in the National Finals of the Jack Nicklaus International Invitational (JNII) golf tournament. After qualifying into the finals at Sta Elena Golf Club, Estrada and Ramsay had no inkling that they would win the National Finals at all. In fact, Estrada was not sure of playing in the finals because of his prior commitments.
Estrada managed to fix his schedule, played true to form with his partner and finished with a 69 in the Peoria format and beat 33 other two-man teams vying to compete in the International Championship in Ohio this May.
“I was dreaming of winning here at least once because it’s an open secret that all of the best amateur golfers are here. We were kind of happy when we were told that there’s a new scoring system, which I think suited our games,” Estrada noted.
Ramsay added, “When we got through the first qualifying day, we were excited because we really had a fun day at the Sta. Elena golf course.”
“We had a little game strategy before the first hole but later on we decided to just play our game. And we played decent golf as we only had one bogey. Honestly we played good, we played better really, today,” he also said.
“You know it’s a good thing Derek told me, let’s just play our game then bahala na!,” Estrada chimed in.
Their strategy worked to perfection. But more than the victory, the thrill will become even more exciting since part of the winnings are the chance to watch live the Memorial Tournament in the US as well as meet and greet, mingle and jingle with golf’s living legend, the “Golden Bear” Jack Nicklaus.
“Most definitely no.1 is to meet Jack Nicklaus, shake his hand and have a picture,” Ramsay said with enthusiasm. “I saw Jack Nicklaus as a teenager, from afar and a long time ago and I always looked up to him.”
“I’m really, really excited to meet him, I have to make so many adjustments in my schedule but since this a once in a lifetime chance to meet the best golfer who ever lived, then we gotta move things around.” Ramsay added.
This winning pair will represent the country in the JNII culminating event where they will battle the other winners from other countries worldwide.
“With any sport, luck is part of it, and we’re very lucky to have this opportunity to represent the Philippines and to meet the best golfer in the world,” Estrada added.
Other celebrities who qualified for the finals were Anthony Suntay, Tonton Gutierrez, Glydel Mercado, Monsour del Rosario, Chad Borja, Coach Tim Cone and Vince Hizon.
Since 2006, the Jack Nicklaus International Invitational has been giving recreational golfers a chance to play tournament golf on world-class courses. Open to all who love the game, men and women of any skill level are invited to enter this enjoyable, social event that promotes camaraderie as much as it lights the competitive fire. Winners of qualifying tournaments advance to the international final Tournament of Champions held annually in Ohio USA concurrently with the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus. Teams get a chance of a lifetime to play for their country while being Jack’s guests at The Memorial where they watch the world’s best.
Learn more at www.jniigolf.com, and follow JackNicklausph on Facebook and Instagram for instant updates.