NAS Jacksonville, FL - Sixty-six military members from 11 countries participated in the seventh Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) World Military Golf Championship at NAS Jacksonville last week. Players from the U.S., Canada, Bahrain, Spain, Netherlands, Pakistan, Germany, Italy, Namibia, Zambia and Estonia came together to enjoy four days of tournament play and other events.
The event kicked off with opening ceremonies Oct. 13 at the Navy Gateway Inns & Suites Pavilion. Team by team, the athletes paraded in, proudly carrying their national flags, as a group of dignitaries and spectators looked on.
NAS Jacksonville Commanding Officer Capt. Bob Sanders welcomed the dignitaries and athletes to the base. Additional remarks were made by Rear Adm. Jack Scorby Jr., commander, Navy Region Southeast, and USAF Brig. Gen. Eden Murrie, chair of the Armed Forces Sports Council and U.S. Chief of Delegation for CISM.
After remarks regarding the games and the history of CISM, Lt. Col. Hakeem Al-Shino, the official CISM representative, declared the “7th CISM World Military Golf Championship officially open.” Steven Dinote, Armed Forces Sports Secretary of the U.S. delegation added, “We are excited to have the championship back at NAS Jacksonville – in 2003, it hosted the inaugural CISM championship. This year we have the largest roster of players since it was brought into the CISM calendar.”
The tournament’s first round began Sunday morning at the NAS Jacksonville Golf Club. The athletes were broken into 22 groups of three players each, with the men teeing off first. After several hours of play, one by one, the teams came in and scores were tallied.
The U.S. men’s team of Thomas Whitney, Addison Lambeth, Adam Dickey, Jason Perry, Brent Riley and Stephan Rude, led the field in round one with a score of 282. They were followed by Thomas Cameron, Tony Stuckless, Paul Ridyard, Cameron Lowdon, Wayne O’Donnell and Richard Lim of Canada at 299. The Bahrain team of Mohammed Alnoaimi, Naser Yaqoob, Hamad Alafnan, Abdulla Alhakam, Nabeel Sabt and Sultan Alhakam were next with a score of 315.
Individual scores put Stephan Rude on top of the leader board with a 69. Thomas Whitney and Adam Dickey tied for second at 70. Addison Lambeth followed with a 73.
In the women’s competition, the U.S. team of Linda Jeffery and Nicole Johnson, placed first in round one with a score of 159, followed by Carla Escobar and Karyne Gelinas of Canada at 168. The German team of Karin Schmidt and Janina Kohler placed third with a 197.
Individual scores put Nicole Johnson in first with a 79 and Linda Jeffrey second with 80. Carla Escobar of Canada placed third with an 82.
On day two, under cloudy skies, the U.S. men’s team increased their lead with an overall score of 284, followed by Canada at 307 and Bahrain with 296.
Thomas Whitney shot a sub-par second round earning him first place with a score of 136. Stephan Rude placed second with 142 and Jason Perry moved up to third with 145.
Once again, the U.S. women retained the lead at 312 strokes. Canada remained in second at 335 and Germany in third with 378.
Linda Jeffery and Nicole Johnson tied for first in the individual competition at 156 strokes. Karyne Gelinas of Canada placed third at of 167.
In round three, under sunny skies, the U.S. women’s team maintained their lead at 468 strokes, followed by Canada at 513 and Germany at 549.
In the individual competition, Nicole Johnson and Linda Jeffery tied for first place at 234 strokes.
The U.S. men’s team continued their lead with a score of 853, as Bahrain moved up to second with 907 and Canada took third with 918.
Thomas Whitney retained the top position at 203 strokes, Jason Perry moves up to second with 215 and Stephan Rude fell six strokes behind with 221.
The final day of the tournament proved to be quite exciting, with players battling stroke by stroke for the gold medal. The women’s division was tied going into the final round of competition between U.S. teammates Linda Jeffrey and Nicole Johnson. Jeffrey took the final round to win the gold with 312. Johnson finished five strokes behind at 317.
The U.S. women won the team championship with a low score of 629. Canada earned the sliver with 691 and Germany the bronze with 717.
Jeffrey said, “This is my fifth CISM championship. The NAS Jax Golf Course staff, including the maintenance team, really got this course in great shape for the tournament considering all the weather issues. It was a very challenging golf course that met my expectations. All the countries had a good time and got to experience a great offering from hospitality and staff. I’m lucky enough to have won and this time around proved to be tougher. I had great competition with my own teammate, Nicole Johnson. My favorite part was getting to meet people from other countries and that to me is the true meaning of this competition – friendship through sport. It is not just about the medals.”
The U.S. men dominated the individual competition. Thomas Whitney won gold with an impressive score of 270 followed by Adam Dickey and Stephan Rude at 293 strokes.
The U.S. men’s team claimed a substantial win by 79 strokes with a score of 1,135. The battle for silver and bronze was extremely close between Bahrain and Canada. Bahrain finished at 1,214, followed by Canada at 1,219.
Brig. Gen. Gijs van Keulen, Chief of Mission for the Netherlands stated, “We had a very enjoyable time here, I just returned myself from a year tour in Afghanistan where we had 51 allies, who worked jointly to help other people. Here, we also have a great team of nations working together and building friendships through sport. The overall performance of the U.S. team in Jacksonville was great. The course was enormous and in excellent shape. I would like to recognize all the volunteers who organized this event. It will be tough to match this next time. We had a great time, many thanks, many thanks.”
“The overall atmosphere was great. In each day’s parings at least one person was from a different country to promote the friendship through sport. New friendships were established this week. The camaraderie increased as the week went on. The CISM tradition of gift sharing and trading of jerseys went on throughout the week. You also saw the team spirit when players who finished early went back on the golf course to cheer on their fellow teammates and show good will to players of other nations,” said NAS Jacksonville Director of Golf Joe Carreiro.
On Thursday, the teams were treated to a special cultural day at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. They toured the Word Golf Hall of Fame museum, watched an IMAX 3D film, participated in an 18-hole putting challenge and enjoyed lunch. After four days of competition, an awards ceremony that evening officially brought the CISM tournament to a close.