Benjie Sumulong celebrated his 66th birthday on Thursday at his happy place — the golf course.
The newly-appointed golf director of Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa shared the special day with office workers.
A little over two weeks ago, Sumulong came out of a seven-year retirement to accept the offer to head the club’s golf operations.
“Maybe I got tired of competitions. I had nothing to prove as a player. This is one way to give something back to the sport,” said the former banker.
Golf has been a way of life for the flamboyant La Salle graduate who first swung the club at the age of 8.
He spent 22 years working in banking, finance, and insurance in Alaska while making a name for himself in the golf circuit. He represented the state in two USGA Publinks tournaments and served as the director for golf tournaments for the Alaska Golf Association for 10 years.
In 2015, Sumulong retired and spent the next seven years polishing his skills. He spent most of his time hitting balls on the course or in the driving range.
But what excites him most nowadays is his current job.
Sumulong said he always looks forward to reporting for work at 7:30 a.m. every day except Mondays.
“For me, it’s not work. It’s passion,” he said.
Sumulong said the 35th Mango Tee member-guest tournament set on 30 January to 4 February will be his baptism of fire.
“We want to make it a special week for all the members and guests,” he said.
The tournament is staking P36 million worth of prizes and giveaways, making it the richest-ever event in its nearly four decades of existence.
Four vehicles will be at stake as hole-in-one prizes — a Mercedes Benz GLB 200 Progressive on the sixth hole, Volvo hybrid on the eighth, Lexus on the 12th, and a Mitsubishi Montero on the 15th.
Other hole-in-one prizes include four golf carts, including a Gransportivo, five motorcycles, four P100,000 cash prizes, one donated by G&W Clubshares, and two business-class tickets for two courtesy of Starlux.
Another two cars — a 2023 Nissan Kicks E-Power VE electric car and a 2022 MG ZS 1.5 Alpha AT — will be raffled off to lucky participants.
Major prizes include business-class tickets for two to Europe and Asia via Starlux, and jewelry worth P500,000 from Jewelmer.
The event’s presenters are Smart, Petron, San Miguel, and Jewelmer.
The Turf Company, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, Philippine Business Bank/Zesto, Merry Mart and Global Ferronickel are the major sponsors.
Also supporting the Mango Tee as premium sponsors are Unilab and Jewelmer.
Hole sponsors include Ayala Land, Asian Hospital, Tipsy Pig, Cotecna, Delta Neo/El Jardin, CTBC Bank, Golfers Clubshare, GG&A Clubshare, Alog Company, IQOS, iPrudential, 515 Group, Standard Insurance, Icoon Company;
City Service, Pacsports, Srixon, Golf Depot, Airport House of Wine, Ralphs Wine, 357 Boracay, Omnisource, Prestige Golf Access and Clubshares, Inc., S&R, Mamalous, Bluesmith, Barcino, Fusion Pro, Primea Discovery, Marriot Manila and Courtyard Marriot.
Ed Lacson and Cid Diomampo are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively of the organizing committee. The other members are Jerry Stehmeier, Boni Pimentel, Junoy Verano, Ed Hernandez, JP Orbeta, Cris Carreon, Jay Bengzon and King Stehmeier.
Daily Tribune is the event’s media partner.