Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Golf's fun, but Asia Cup is a serious quest

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When it started, it was as much a "social thing" as it was a sports group, but now the Manitoba Chinese Golf Association has become serious about its game.

"In the late '80s, I think 1986, one of the founders -- Dennis Toy, who still plays with us -- helped get the (club) started and then it was a social thing for the whole family," said the MCGA's president, Humphrey Yung.

"There was a tournament at Hecla Island; everybody stayed over on Saturday night. The family, they could play at the pool and the courtyard and the men, they would play golf on Saturday and another round on Sunday. Then there was a big barbecue for the whole group on Saturday night.

"That's how it started."

In addition to Toy, On Chan, Thomas Chan, Albert Leung, David Leung, Patrick Mah, and Woo Wai-Ching get the credit for bringing the organization to life, Yung said.

As it grew, the MCGA organized two events a year to try to bring together members of the Winnipeg and Manitoba Chinese community.

The spring tournament is a fun-oriented Texas Scramble. This year it was played at Quarry Oaks.

"We're trying to encourage new members," MCGA secretary Joe Chung said.

Later in the season, the mulligans are out the window and it's game on. The second tournament of the year is for the MCGA annual championship, and just as importantly in recent times, it's the qualifying day for Team China for the Asia Cup.

Begun as China versus Philippines in 2004, this year's Asia Cup will be contested by six teams at The Meadows at East St. Paul in late August. Competing against Team China will be the local members of teams India, Japan, Philippines, Korea and Laos.

Tom Sung, who shot 78 at The Meadows in early July to win the MCGA tournament and qualifier, will lead Team China, which is the host team this year. That allows it to decide the course and the format (best six individual of 16 scores to count on tournament day).

Yung, too, will be on the team. He owns up to a 14 handicap and said his participation in golf today surprises even him.

"My friends asked me to play golf a long, long time ago," he explained. "I told them I was not interested. It was boring. You have to get up too early.

"I had no interest until one day I was at work (for the city) and they sent me out to Windsor Park to fix some sprinklers on the course.

"I met the maintenance foreman there and he explained to me what he wanted me to do with the sprinklers in the fairway and the green, but I didn't know what a fairway or green was.

"When I was there... I saw the people playing golf, old guys, young guys, all carrying their bags and walking in all this nice scenery.

"I figured, look at me working and them enjoying this game. So I decided I would learn it."

That was 14 years ago when Yung's friend, Garry Eng, the MCGA treasurer, suggested Yung just needed a couple of clubs to get started -- a No. 7 and a putter.

Yung went out and bought a seven-wood and a putter, not realizing Eng had meant a seven-iron, but the mistake didn't deter him. After his first on-course experience, he bought a whole set of clubs and has been an avid player ever since.

The MCGA keeps its own website (www.mcga.ca), which includes some history, photos, contact information and a hole-in-one listing for any member.

That includes one by Yung, his first and a career thrill, in 2010 at Wildewood, his home club.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 28, 2012 j5

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