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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 27, 2003

Stubblefield, Kim chosen to Hall

• Hawai'i Golf Hall of Fame

By Bill Kwon

Marga Stubblefield, left, shown giving instruction to Lorraine Hirokawa in 2000, says her biggest local victory was in the 1972 Jennie K. Invitational.

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Beverly Kong Kim has won tournaments in five decades.
Marga Stubblefield and Beverly Kong Kim — the Aloha Section PGA's selections as the 2003 inductees into the Hawai'i Golf Hall of Fame — bring credentials and distinction in joining the honored group of elite golfers locally.

Stubblefield, the University of Hawai'i women's golf coach and former LPGA Tour member, joins brother Larry Stubblefield (Class of 2001) as the only siblings in the golfing hall of fame.

Kim pulled off a rare coup in local golf by winning tournaments in five decades — the latest being the 2001 Puamelia Invitational.

Stubblefield and Kim won the prestigious Jennie K. Wilson Invitational titles. But more significant were their roles as pioneers in women's collegiate golf.

Stubblefield represented UH as its only player in the 1975 and 1976 Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women championships.

Kim competed on an individual basis in the same national event for the University of Oregon, which had no women's golf program when she graduated in 1968.

Stubblefield has come full circle at UH-Manoa — first as a player, finishing second and fifth in the two AIAW nationals before it became the NCAA championship — then as the UH women's coach since 1998.

She also was the first Rainbow Wahine to qualify for the LPGA Tour, playing on the women's professional tour for 8 1/2 years. Her best finish was a tie for seventh in the 1981 Birmingham Classic. In 1989, Stubblefield, at age 38, successfully passed the Qualifying School to play one more year on the LPGA, doing so with the expressed desire to play in two of the tour's events in Hawai'i at Ko Olina and Wailea.

A member of the Mid-Pacific Country Club with her family, Stubblefield says her biggest local victory was the 1972 Jennie K. Invitational, hosted by her club. "I was ecstatic. Jennie K. was the tournament to win locally, the one tournament I looked up to. It had the best field and it was at my home course."

However, her opportunity to repeat as a champion in the prestigious event before turning pro was stymied by the club's then-policy of inviting golfers from Taiwan, who won the tournament the following three years.

The Hawai'i State Women's Association match-play championships weren't held during her years at UH, but Stubblefield finished second to Marlene Floyd in the 1973 and 1974 stroke-play championships. Floyd, whose brother Raymond is a PGA Tour veteran, was then a flight attendant based in Hawai'i. Marlene went on to a successful LPGA career.

Stubblefield, however, dominated other local women's amateur events, particularly the Barbers Point Invitational, which she won four straight years from 1971 to 1974.

In 1972, she also captured the Moanalua Women's and Kane'ohe Women's invitationals. In 1974, Stubblefield won the Army Women's Invitational and qualified to play in both the U.S. Women's Open and the Western Amateur, advancing to the second round in the latter.

Before successfully qualifying for her first LPGA playing card in 1976, Stubblefield won the Kaua'i Women's Invitational and the Rainbow Women's Invitational in 1975.

Five-decade winner

Not many 56-year-old grandmothers can lay claim to being a defending champion in a golf tournament. Kim found herself in that unique position last summer prior to the Puamelia Invitational.

Kim's victory in that 2001 event enabled her to add a fifth winning decade in a brilliant career starting with her first major victory in the 1971 HSWGA Match Play Championship.

Then known by her maiden name, Beverly Kong, she successfully defended the match-play title in 1972 and, remarkably, 24 years and two children later, won the same crown again.

Winning the 1981 Jennie K. Invitational, one of the women's majors, was a thrill, according to Kim. But a bigger satisfaction was winning that match-play crown in 1996 "when I turned 50."

Kim won the Waialae Women's Invitational in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and don't count her out in this decade. She's got the competitive fire once again.

"I had got pretty complacent about golf for a while. There wasn't a real urge to win," Kim said. "It was sort of, been there, done that. Now, I want to do it again. My peak was in the 1970s. I'm looking forward to another peak."

There was no junior golf program in Wahiawa for Kim, who took up golf on a "fool-around" basis at the age of 11. She grew up playing at the old Kunia Golf Course.

She credits the late Guinea Kop in developing her game.

"I started with him when he was at the Ala Wai Golf Course, and followed him when he went to Hawai'i Kai and then the Francis Brown course (now the Pearl Country Club). He taught by feel," Kim said.

"He kept telling me different things to do, I was getting confused. But I soon learned that I was to pick and choose what was best for me. That was his style."

In Kim's case, she certainly chose correctly.

Kim and Stubblefield will be officially inducted April 25 at a luncheon at the Hawaii Prince Hotel.

Bill Kwon can be reached at bkwon@aloha.net.

• • •

Hawai'i Golf Hall of Fame

  • 2003—Marga Stubblefield, Beverly Kong Kim.
  • 2002—Lance Suzuki, Dan Nishimoto.
  • 2001—Chuck Davis, Marshall "Chipper" Garriss, Larry Stubblefield.
  • 2000—Billy Arakawa, Barrett Melvin, Mark Rolfing.
  • 1999—David "Bones" Bettencourt, Tura Nagatoshi, Walter Nagorski.
  • 1998—Edna Lee Jackola, Jack Omuro, Hope Yee.
  • 1997—Art Fujita, Sam Kaaua, Paul Spengler.
  • 1996—Ben Neeley, Al Souza.
  • 1995—Codie Austin Cooke, Charles Chung, James Reilly.
  • 1994—Ron Castillo Sr., Jackie Yates Holt, Wendell Kop.
  • 1993—Kenneth Brown, Morgan Fottrell, Masa Kaya.
  • 1992—Hung Soo Ahn, Ramona McGuire, Ken Miyaoka.
  • 1991—Tai On Chock, Paul Scodeller, Allan Yamamoto.
  • 1990—Thomas Ching, Monte Ito, John Kalinka, Charles Makaiwa, Robert "Bob" Tom.
  • 1989—Alex Bell, Merrill Carlsmith, Joan Damon, Owen Douglass, Bill Gee, Toyo Shirai.
  • 1988—Arthur Armstrong, Ted Benedict, Francis I'i Brown, Gov. John A. Burns, Babe Carter, Guinea Kop, Ted Makalena, Jackie Pung, Jimmy Ukauka.