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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, June 18, 2001

McLachlin wins Rainbow Open

By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer

MILILANI — Chris McLachlin's Father's Day gift from son Parker came with a golf bag attached.

Parker McLachlin had a nice Father's Day gift for his dad Chris McLachlin — a victory at the Rainbow Open.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

With his father caddying, Parker won the 28th annual Sports Shinko Rainbow Open at Mililani Golf Club yesterday. The UCLA senior is the first amateur champion since Clayton Gomi in 1996, and eighth overall.

Jerry Mullen, a pro at Mid-Pacific Country Club, finished second but claimed the first-place prize — $5,000 and a round trip for two to Mauna Kea Beach — when McLachlin had to pass because of his amateur status. McLachlin plans to turn pro in the fall of 2002.

McLachlin shot a final-round 70 for a three-day total of 9-under-par 207. Mullen (70) was two shots back. Pros Kevin Hayashi (74) and Ivan Cunningham (71) were another two back.

Mullen (1988) and Hayashi (1986) both won the tournament as amateurs. With four holes left, they were tied with McLachlin at seven under. At that point, McLachlin's high-quality recent past kicked in, along with his putting stroke, to close out the tournament.

Since January, McLachlin has played the Sony Open in Hawai'i, the NCAA Tournament and charged into the second phase of U.S. Open qualifying. His game was in a competitive groove no one here could match.

"Parker hit so many good shots," said Hayashi, the 1999 Aloha Section PGA Player of the Year. "If his putting was a little bit better, he would have run away with this thing. He was very impressive. He could have easily shot six or seven shots better. He just missed a lot of putts."

McLachlin knew that better than anyone. Faced with a 10-footer for birdie on the 15th (165-yard par-3), he finally made one while Hayashi was three-putting for bogey. Mullen had come through earlier and left with double bogey, after losing his tee shot way right, where it stopped against a root. His second shot stopped in the rough and he missed a 15-footer for bogey.

"I played pretty good except for that hole," said Mullen, who was two under over the last three holes. "I was just hanging in there. No one was playing too well but Parker, and it's an honor beating Kevin. He's still the best."

McLachlin's birdie-bogey-birdie finish completed his first victory at home since Barbers Point two years ago. While nearly everyone was in neutral — or worse, reverse — yesterday, he hit almost every approach shot within 20 feet, and couldn't make a putt until the final four holes.

"I just tried to stay positive, it's hard when the putts aren't going in," McLachlin said. "But nobody else was making any putts so I felt good, like I had a good chance.

"If anyone would have made a run, I probably would have been a little more frustrated, a little quicker. But because nobody was going anywhere, it helped me stay patient."

McLachlin felt his charge started before he made the turn, when he birdied the par-5 eighth hole and parred the ninth to pick up two strokes on Hayashi.

Hayashi might have lost this tournament late Saturday, when he bogeyed three of his last four holes. Par on the relatively short eighth hole, followed by bogey, sealed his fate yesterday, he felt. He couldn't get anything going on the back nine, which he owned a year ago.

Hayashi will try to become the first player to three-peat at the Hawai'i State Open in October. He said yesterday that problems away from the course have taken a toll the past several months, and altered his priorities.

"I'm getting stronger again," Hayashi said. "Mentally, I'm a little bit more there."

• • •

SHORT PUTTS: Darian Desellem (78-152) won the A Flight and Thomas Takushi (82-159) the B Flight. ... Brian Sasada, the 2000 Aloha Section PGA Player of the Year, shot yesterday's low round, a 4-under-par 68. ... Defending champion Stephen Enriquez, from Texas, tied for 14th (74-218). Juan Rodriguez, last year's runner-up, closed with a 69 to tie for 16th.