Lorie Kane to defend LPGA Takefuji title
Waikoloa's first LPGA Takefuji Classic has an initial commitment list that includes four of the top 10 on last year's money list and half of the top 50.
Canadian Lorie Kane will defend the title she won last year at Kona Country Club.
The $900,000 event opens the 2002 LPGA season, Feb. 28-March 2 at Waikoloa's Beach Course. It has a field of 132 and will be televised by The Golf Channel and TV Tokyo in Japan.
Karrie Webb, who won the inaugural Takefuji Classic in 2000, is not among the first group to commit, nor is Annika Sorenstam, the 2001 LPGA Player of the Year.
Kane was fourth on the money list last year, winning nearly $1 million. Others in the top 10 who committed early are Mi Hyun Kim, Laura Diaz and Catriona Matthew, who won the final Cup Noodles Hawaiian Ladies Open last February.
Juli Inkster, Betsy King, Kris Tschetter, Brandie Burton, Akiko Fukushima, Liselotte Neumann, Alison Nicholas and former UH Wahine golfer Cindy Flom have also committed to play.
Okoye tees up benefit: Openings remain for the Feb. 8 tournament for the Christian Okoye Foundation. The former Kansas City Chief, nicknamed the "Nigerian Nightmare," is bringing in other former players including Eric Dickerson, Dan Saleaumua, Dokie Williams and Flipper Anderson.
Each foursome plays with an NFL player. The tournament will be at Ko'olau Golf Club, beginning at 11:15 a.m. Cost is $125, which includes golf, a sleeve of Ko'olau golf balls, team photo, lunch and pupu reception.
For more information and to reserve a spot, contact Emi Espinda at 236-4653, extension 223.
Lana'i rolls 7: Lana'i's Lodge at Ko'ele and Manele Bay Hotel are rated seventh in Golf Digest's Top 75 Golf Resorts in America. Hawai'i had four resorts in the first dozen, with Kapalua 10th, Mauna Lani 11th and Mauna Kea Beach/Hapuna 12th.
This was the first golf resort ranking in the magazine's 51-year history. It had previously ranked resort golf courses (1988 and '92), but never considered the "entire resort experience."
There are 11 Hawai'i resorts included in the Top 75, all on the Neighbor Islands. Four Seasons-Hualalai is 15th, followed by Princeville (16), Grand Wailea (21), Kaua'i Marriott (29), Hyatt Regency Kaua'i (50), Waikoloa Beach (57) and Maui Prince/Makena (62).
Pebble Beach Resort is No. 1. Pebble Beach is also No. 1 on Golf Digest's latest 100 Greatest Golf Courses ranking. Hawai'i and Florida, which also had 11 resorts on the list, led the states, followed by California (eight) and Arizona (seven).