Greystone stop part of Filipino U.S. tour

HOOVER &8212; Over the years its field of competitors has featured the best in Alabama and has grown to include top amateurs from more than half the states in the country.

This year, the Greystone Invitational added a new twist as three golfers from the Philippines played the Legacy course last weekend.

&8220;I thought, &8216;Come on, this guy&8217;s joking me,&8217;&8221; said tournament chairman Tom Ramsey of when he first received an e-mail from Filipino coach Nestor Mendoza.

Mendoza and two other golf instructors flew to the United States in early June with a privately funded Filipino group of golfers to compete in American amateur events in preparation for the Southeast Asia Games in December.

Anthony Fernando, who finished seventh overall, Michael Alejandro and Dante Becierra flew from California to Birmingham to compete in the seventh-annual event, one of the main tournaments on the team&8217;s stop in the U.S.

&8220;We&8217;re just really glad we got into this tournament, because the field is so good,&8221; Mendoza said. &8220;Whatever it took we felt like we should join this tournament.&8221;

Mendoza said he used the Greystone event as a centerpiece when scheduling amateur events across the United States, which include, stops in Los Angles, Scottsdale, Ariz., Portland, Ore., and North Carolina.

Ramsey hopes domestic golfers and international golfers, will continue to return to the invitational event that he started to commemorate the opening of the Legacy course seven years ago.

&8220;We hope even if they shoot a 90-90, that they&8217;ll go home and talk about how we treated them like kings,&8221; Ramsey said.

Mendoza may just do that.

&8220;I have really high praises for this golf course. It&8217;s so aesthetically beautiful, and the reception has been really fantastic,&8221; he said.

Ramsey said the event has grown from having barely enough applicants to field the 144-golfer event to a mailing list of more than 3,000, in which more than 10 percent respond with an application.