Women's match play event will not have youthful flair
With the U.S. Junior Girls qualifier moving to the same week, this year's Hawai'i State Women's Golf Association Match Play Championship will have a much more mature atmosphere.
And probably a much older champion.
Last year at Oahu Country Club, 11-year-old Stephanie Kono aced the par-4 ninth hole to put an exclamation point on her first womens championship. Kono defeated Desiree Ting, 6 and 5, to become the tournament's youngest winner.
Kono is among the young golf guns who will miss this year's tournament because of the Junior Girls qualifier, which is next Thursday at Ko Olina. The state match play starts Monday at OCC, with an 8 a.m. qualifying round.
The first round tees off at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, with Wednesday's quarterfinals and Thursday's semifinals starting at 8 a.m. Friday's final begins at 7 a.m.
This year's field includes three-time champion Bev Kim, who captured the first two match play events in 1971 and '72, then won again in 1996. Kaua'i's Rachel Kyono is back from school she helped Pepperdine to ninth in the NCAA Championships to try and complement her 2000 state stroke-play title. Kyono also won last year's state high school championship.
Ting is back, along with 1999 finalists Mahina Ah Yuen and Traci Kashiwabara-Ayabe, and former Jennie K. champion Bobbi Kokx.
Dates set for Big Island senior event
The Big Island's MasterCard Championship will be the first official event on the 2003 Senior PGA Tour schedule. It will be Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Hualalai Golf Club, with Pro-Ams Jan. 29 and 30.
For the first time, the Senior Skins Game will be played before MasterCard. All 18 holes will be played Jan. 25, at Wailea's Gold Course on Maui. Senior Skins will be broadcast Jan. 25 and 26. The foursome will be announced in November.
Senior rookie Fuzzy Zoeller, who made his Senior Skins debut last year, became the latest player to qualify for the 2003 MasterCard Championship when he won the Senior PGA Championship.
He becomes the 30th eligible player, including Hilo's Steve Veriato.
Winners of tour majors the last five years, tour events the past two years and up to four sponsor exemptions (limited to exempt players with a minimum of 30 combined career victories) are eligible.
Tom Kite is defending champion, having won the 2001 event by six shots over John Jacobs.
For more information, call the tournament office at (808) 877-0469.
Kohlhaas 23rd in women's seniors
Jeannette (Kerr) Kohlhaas tied for 23rd at last weekend's $450,000 Hy-Vee Classic held in Des Moines, Iowa. The event, won by Lori West, is a stop on the Women's Senior Golf Tour.
Kohlhaas finished eight shots back, at 4-over-par 148 (77-71), and won $5,280. Kohlhaas grew up in Honolulu and now teaches golf out of Exmoor Country Club in Illinois.
Former Kona resident Susie Berning (79-71) was two more shots back and tied for 34th. Berning is now a teaching pro at The Reserve Golf Club in Indian Wells, Calif. Roosevelt graduate Lenore (Muraoka) Rittenhouse (78-86) tied for 41st.
Hawai'i scores well on survey
Conde Nast Traveler's sixth annual survey of the 50 Best Golf Resorts in North America, Hawai'i, and the Caribbean had a decidedly local flavor, with 16 Hawai'i resorts included.
Manele Bay on Lana'i was No. 1, with the Orchid at Mauna Lani third, Lodge at Koele fourth, Four Seasons Hualalai fifth, Ritz-Carlton Kapalua eighth and Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows 10th.
The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was 11th and there were three more Hawai'i resorts in the Top 25 i Four Seasons Wailea (17), Grand Wailea (17) and Hyatt Regency Kaua'i Resort (25). Princeville Resort, Kapalua Bay Hotel, Hapuna Beach Prince, Renaissance Wailea Beach, Kea Lani Resort and Kaua'i Marriott also made the Top 50.
Manele ranks well with female golfers
The Challenge at Manele course on Lana'i was ranked 15th in Golf for Women magazine's 2002 feature on the "50 Best Courses for Women." Kapalua Golf Club came in 34th.
The list of best public and resort courses is chosen by a panel of golfers, course architects, travel writers and members of Golf Digest's Ranking Panel. Ranking is based on course design, quality of play, women's programs and extras such as spas, child care and food.
Short putts: The Ala Wai driving range will be closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday due to cart path construction in the area.