Hayashi captures Aloha Section title
By Bill Kwon
Special to The Advertiser
KOHALA COAST, Hawai'i In a roller coaster finish in which they traded two-shot swings on four of the final seven holes, Kevin Hayashi outlasted Kevin Carll to win the Aloha Section PGA AT&T Stroke Play Championship yesterday at the Mauna Kea Golf Course.
Hayashi shot an even-par 72 for a 54-hole total of 216 , while Carll closed with a 76 for a 218 after leading the first two days. Playing in the final threesome, Ron Castillo Jr. was third at 219.
"I was happy to win, but it was a struggle out there," said Hayashi, referring to the course's tricky greens rather than the conditions, which were ideal.
The final two-shot swing proved the costliest as Hayashi parred the 555-yard 17th hole, while Carll took a double-bogey 7 after an errant drive led to a two-stroke penalty for a lost ball.
"That was probably the most yoyo round I've ever been a part of," Carll said.
"First time for me," added Hayashi, who leaves later this month to try and qualify for the Japan PGA Tour.
The Hilo Municipal pro began the day trailing Carll by two strokes. He pulled even at Mauna Kea's signature par-3 third with a great two-putt from 70 feet, while Carll bogeyed again after three-putting the opening hole.
Carll then settled down. He had a two-putt birdie at the par-5 eighth, a birdie at the ninth and another two-putt birdie at the par-5 10th. He went ahead by three strokes at the par-3 11th when Hayashi couldn't get up and down from the right bunker.
Then the fun began.
Hayashi got two strokes back at the 12th hole with a birdie-3 to Carll's bogey, and gave it right back at the par-4 13th with a bogey as Carll birdied. Carll saw his lead cut to two when he bogeyed 14, and Hayashi pulled even at the par-3 15th with a 12-foot birdie putt as Carll failed to get up and down from the right fringe.
At 17, a bug on his tee ball distracted Carll and he yanked his drive left. Hayashi two-putted for par, while Carll just missed his bogey attempt for yet another two-shot swing.
This time it meant the difference between winning and losing.
For Hayashi, it was his second victory in this event he won in 1998.
For Carll, who will join the Aloha Academy of Golf teaching staff at the Ko'olau Golf Course, it was his closest brush with a major victory. He won the Assistants Tournament at Ko Olina and two team events last year.
"Considering the last two months I played only five rounds of golf, I'm pretty happy, all in all," said Carll, who had a good reason for his game being a bit rusty. He and his wife, Suzanne, are parents of a daughter, Sabrina, who is a month old.
The $2,700 top prize will come in handy for Hayashi. Because the JPGA qualifying is in four stages, he will need to take four trips to Japan in trying to earn his playing card there for the 2002 season.
"I spoke to Greg (Meyer) and David (Ishii) about playing there. They kind of encouraged me to go," said Hayashi, who turned 39 in June.
Larry Stubblefield shot a one-under 71 to win the senior division with a 54-hole total of 219, five strokes better than Turtle Bay's Dennis Rose. Rose and Rodney Acia, who led the 36-hole qualifying, will represent Hawai'i in the National Senior Club Pro Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla., in October.