Record 136 players at Former Lord Mayor’s Cup Invitational Golf Tournament

Community News & Features Sep 14, 2018 at 4:02 pm
From left: Danny Zapata, Art T. Viola, Joey Luz, Ivalof Valov, Serge Demesa, Corey Bristowe (Golf Services Manager, Royal Niagara Golf Club).

From left: Danny Zapata, Art T. Viola, Joey Luz, Ivalof Valov, Serge Demesa, Corey Bristowe (Golf Services Manager, Royal Niagara Golf Club).

The Former Lord Mayor’s Cup Invitational Golf Tournament held Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at the Royal Niagara Golf Course was a success in terms of participation and outcome, according to the event organizers.

The number of golfers who came to participate was “overwhelming,” according to Serge Demesa, one of the organizers. One hundred thirty six came to play.

Joey Luz, another organizer, confirmed and said they were initially looking at 60 players, “but more than double participated, breaking the records as far as Filipino golf tournaments are concerned.” Luz, a long-time golfer, was a Toronto resident before and a participant and organizer of tournaments in the Greater Toronto Area. He has moved with his wife to Niagara-on-the Lake where they now reside and where he continues to play golf.

Tournament co-organizers have credited him for the participation of over 50 per cent of the tournament golfers from the GTA, many of them associated with FILCAN Golf, and Talamac, two of the biggest Filipino golf organizations in the region.

Former NOTL Lord Mayor Art T. Viola (5th from right), with winners....

Former NOTL Lord Mayor Art T. Viola (5th from right), with winners….

As a fundraiser for needy students in the Philippines, the tournament’s initial output was a modest $3,000, said Luz. Organizers are happy with the results which they said is great for something which has just started. So encouraged are they that they will hold the event annually and are optimistic they would get more participants next time – up to 200, which is the capacity of the golf course — and sponsors to whom they are grateful in offsetting most of the expenses – golf equipment, trophies, prizes and the dinner after.

“Considering everything, we are happy that this project is worth all the hard work, support and goodwill of everyone who helped, even those who took part in the raffle and 50/50.”

Aside from Demesa and Luz, key organizers are Randy Panganiban and Eddie Semira. All four are good friends and golf buddies of Former Lord Mayor Art Viola, after whom the gold tournament is named.

... players...

… players…

“We all thought a golf tournament would be a good way to honor and remember Art Viola, a Filipino whose achievements we are all proud of, said Demesa. Viola is the first and only Filipino-Canadian to win mayoral elections in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a borough where he also served as Vice Mayor and Councillor. Humble as he is, Viola however, did not want his full name attached to the tournament’s official title, organizers said.

Proceeds will go to needy students in Iloilo, Philippines, who would benefit from some financial assistance. The organizers wanted Art Viola and his wife Julie to take charge in identifying worthy beneficiaries in Iloilo, they being familiar with the social needs of the community, having conducted various charitable work for residents there affected by typhoons and other calamities.

Right now, according to Art Viola, there is at student they have in mind who would immediately benefit from their help – a pharmacy major in San Agustin University in Iloilo, who needs financial assistance to complete her studies this year, her final year.

... and more players. (Photos compliments of Randy Panganiban)

… and more players.
(Photos compliments of Randy Panganiban)

The organizers are very thankful to the sponsors, among them, Toyota AutoLine in Niagara Falls, that donated a 2018 fully loaded Yaris for the hole-in-one hitter. The donation is still available for future years, to be updated into a newer model, says Luz. Other sponsors are Action Honda; LBC; Ramil Domdom and D’ Barkadas; Dr Azim Velji; Mr and Mrs Romeo Pan and Judith Yamson Pan; and Mr and Mrs Mario Pan and Family of Buyo Goa Camarines Sur, Philippines.

Viola and the organizers are also appreciative of the support and goodwill of the Royal Niagara Golf Club in making their first tournament a success: Ivaylo T. Valov, Superintendent Operations Manager Corey Bristowe, Golf Service Manager; and Michael Fox, Chef/Food & Beverage Service Manager.

The following are the tournament winners : Men’s/ (Class A) Low Gross:  Mike Opresio; Low Net: Roel Bautista; (Class B) Low Gross : James Bangay; Low Net: Allan Sabater; (Class C) Low Net: Cip Mendoza; Low Gross: Charlie Guyo. Ladies Low Gross: Diana Salmingo; Ladies Low Net: Susie Bautista; Ladies Closest to the Pin – Myrna de Leon.

(MAGarcia)

Art and Julie Viola (standing righ) with organizers and volunteers.

Art and Julie Viola (standing righ) with organizers and volunteers.