The AYF Olympics golf events this year were held at the East Potomac Golf Course in Washington, D.C. on the popular Blue Course. The course is one of the few in the country designated as a Certified Audubon Sanctuary. While dominantly flat in its terrain, it featured spectacular views of the various D.C. monuments, especially the Washington Memorial, as well as the Potomac River. It was also very conveniently located just 15 minutes from the Olympics headquarters hotel. The weather was cooperative as it was clear, sunny, and steamy with the temperature in the low 90’s. Tee times were wisely scheduled with an 8 a.m. start to somewhat mitigate the heat. Amazingly all the competitors were there on time and only a few alumni complained about the heat.
Women’s AYF Golf
The women’s event was, once again, dominated by Michelle Hagopian of Granite City. Winning for her eighth year in a row (the entirety of her Olympic career), exceptionally dominant for her event, she set a new Olympics record and personal best of 40 for 9 holes, beating her own prior record of 41. On the par 36 course, she was only 4 over par! Michelle could readily take on the men and embarrass most of them, given her abilities. In her spare time, she is the chair of the AYF Central Executive and the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Eastern Region. She certainly keeps busy.
Coming in second and third place respectively in the women’s event were Mari Hackett and Araxi Krafian, both of Boston. They shot 70 and 72, respectively. Mari and Araxi are cousins and, although they did not break any records, they should certainly be congratulated for competing in a challenging event on behalf of their team, as well as continuing their family tradition of active AYFers (they have both served on their local executive and on various regional committees of the AYF). This was the first time they competed in the golf event.
Men’s AYF Golf
The men’s event was more competitive, at least between 1st and 2nd and then 3rd and 4th places. Winning was Mark Santerian of Philadelphia, who shot an impressive 78, only 6 over par. In second place was Peter Tashjian, also of Philadelphia, with an 82. Although teammates, the competition was quite spirited and not decided until the last few holes. These two have dominated men’s golf in recent years, as Peter won last year in Boston and Mark won two years ago in Chicago. The 8 points that both men contributed to their Philadelphia team were instrumental in Philadelphia’s winning the overall Olympics versus Providence. Perhaps other chapters will take note that valuable points are available in both the women’s and men’s golf events.
In third place was Peter Charshafian of New Jersey who shot a 104; fourth place was Alexan Topalian of Providence with a 107; and fifth was held down by Aram Afarian with a 112. All of these competitors should be congratulated not only for their abilities (most golfers in the U.S. are fortunate to break 100), but for persevering in the hot and humid conditions. The third and fourth place finishers were definitely out there for their team’s overall performance.
Both the men and women exhibited great sportsmanship and demonstrated good fraternal competition. Thanks also to Ken Topalian of the Governing Body for overseeing the day’s events. He fortunately did not have to adjudicate too many disputes.
Men’s Alumni Golf
There were eight participants in the men’s alumni golf, a great showing of support. Jeff Hagopian from Granite City had the low round with a 78 (with a set of rental clubs no less!), not the first time he has won this competition (as Michelle’s father, he has obviously done a good job of passing along strong golfing DNA). Dennis Tarpinian from New Jersey came in second with an 85; Ken Hachikian from Chicago came in third with an 86; and Rich Kanarian of Massachusetts finished fourth with an 87 (with 3 lipped putts). Other participants were Armen Avedisian from New Jersey, Edward Zohrabian from Encino, Calif., Sarkis Shirinian from New Jersey, and Peter Jelalian from New Jersey, all of whom displayed great camaraderie.
New Jersey clearly won the team spirit award with four alumni, and Encino captured the award for the golfer traveling the longest distance. The alumni had a great time participating and supporting the AYFers, with a minimum of blood shed in the heated competition (there were no putts that were given).
We look forward to an even larger showing in the golf events next year in Detroit.