Hamamoto repeats as state golf champ
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
|Waiakea High senior Jarett Hamamoto pitches toward the 12th green at Leilehua.
Bruce Asato The Honolulu Advertiser
Hamamoto followed his 6-under 66 on Tuesday with a 2-over 74 yesterday for a 140 total. That was four strokes better than the 144 posted by Iolani senior Matt Ma, Kamehameha senior Christian Akau and Hawai'i Prep freshman Burt Bonk, the day's medalist with a 69.
Hamamoto became the first to repeat as state champion since Iolani's Kalani Kiaaina in 1994.
He began the day with a three-stroke lead over Ma, who shot a 4-under 32 on Tuesday's back nine. Hamamoto built the lead to six strokes at the turn after an even-par 36 to Ma's 39, but Ma closed it to three strokes by starting the back nine with two birdies.
Ma bogeyed No. 12, however, pushing the margin back to four strokes with six holes remaining. That proved insurmountable against Hamamoto, who played those final six holes at 1-over.
"He is so steady, it's hard, it's tough," Ma said. "He hits it straight and keeps it in play. If he misses a fairway, it's not by much. He made all the shots he needed to make and made all the putts he needed to make."
Hamamoto said his putting actually slipped from Tuesday's round, when he needed only 22.
"I think I had nine more than yesterday, and that doesn't help," Hamamoto said. "Some days it's on, and some days it's off."
Ma said mental errors contributed to his 3-over 75.
"I'd misclub, I'd hit the wrong shot," he said. "I paid for it, but that's golf."
Hamamoto will play for the Air Force Academy next year, and Ma will join Oregon's team in the fall. Akau, who shot 73 yesterday, signed with Idaho.
Akau, a two-time Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion, fell short of his goal to be an individual state champ. But he said the Warriors' team title more than made up for that disappointment.
"The team that's what I really wanted," Akau said. "I knew if we all shot our games, we could do it."
In addition to Akau's 73, Kamehameha got a 71 from Chris Souza, a 72 from Chris Caycayon and a 74 from Eric Fong for a four-player total of 290 and a two-day score of 591. The Warriors began the day 11 strokes behind Waiakea, which finished second with a score of 596. Iolani (599) was third.
The championship ended Waiakea's streak of state championships at four. Kamehameha coach Wes Wailehua said it was more than shot-making that lifted his team to the title.
"Eric Fong's father, Steve, passed away in March," Wailehua said. "He was a volunteer assistant coach the past three years, and he was the kind of guy who did everything for the kids. That's why they were practicing so hard, and that's why there was a lot of passion out there. He definitely made an impact."
"I'm so happy, because we wanted to win for Mr. Fong," Akau said. "I know he was out there today, watching over us."