Matsumoto returning to defend OCC title
Oahu Country Club member Mervin Matsumoto, who blew by the young guys last year to win the OCC Invitational, begins defense of his title today.
A field of 90 tees off in the 41st annual tournament. The field will be cut to the low 35 and ties after tomorrow's second round. Play begins at 7 a.m. today and tomorrow, and 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Matsumoto, 59, was the only player to break par last year in windy conditions, finishing at 1-under 212. Other former champions playing this year are Brandan Kop (1998) and his uncle, Wendell Kop (1986 and '89).
Former Manoa Cup champions Kellen Floyd Asao and Randy Shibuya are also playing, along with Jonathan Ota, Clayton Gomi, Del-Marc Fujita, Mark Chun, Christian Akau, Matthew Ma, Todd Rego, Gary Kong and Paul Kimura.
Prince qualifies for Senior Open
Lahaina's Dean Prince won Hawai'i's slot in the U.S. Senior Open on Friday, firing a 2-under-par 70 in the Sectional Qualifier at Barbers Point Golf Course.
Prince beat out 25 others. Motomasa Aoki (71) is first alternate. Masahiro Tokunaga (72) is second, Kaua'i's Daniel Nishimoto (72) third and Honolulu's Paul Kimura (73) is the fourth alternate. Kimura was low amateur.
The national championship is July 29 to Aug. 1 at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
In other national championship news:
- The U.S. Golf Association Mid-Amateur qualifier is at the Dunes at Maui Lani on Aug. 28. Entry deadline is July 28. Participants must be at least 25 by Sept. 10. National championship is Sept. 10 to 15 at Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn.
- Qualifying for the U.S. Senior Women's Championship is at Honolulu Country Club on Sept. 14. Entry deadline is Aug. 18. To qualify, participants must be at least 50 by Oct. 9 and have a handicap index of 18.4 or less. National championship is Oct. 9 to 14 at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif.
ESPN Challenge at Turtle Bay
Local and regional qualifying rounds for the ESPN National Golf Challenge will be played at Turtle Bay Resort on July 18.
The 18-hole local qualifier begins at 9 a.m. on the Arnold Palmer Course. The top six two-person teams advance to the regional a four-hole shoot-out format in the afternoon on the George Fazio Course.
The event is open to female and male golfers with U.S. Golf Association or other approved handicaps. Teams can be coed. Entry fee is $105 per player.
The Challenge is designed to find "America's Best Amateur Twosome" in gross and net divisions. National Finals are Oct. 1 and 2 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
To register, contact Turtle Bay at 293-8574 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rarick to host junior event
LPGA and former University of Hawai'i golfer Cindy Rarick will host her 13th annual Cindy Rarick Waikoloa Junior Golf Invitational on July 25 at Waikoloa's Kings' Course.
Rarick has won five LPGA events, the last in 1991.
The team tournament divides players into age groups. Rarick donates prizes. Participation is open to members of the Big Island and Waikoloa Junior Golf Associations.
Wie honorary chair for literacy
In the latest Michelle Wie installment, the Punahou sophomore has been appointed honorary chairperson of the 11th annual Marriott Links to Literacy. The golf tournament is a benefit for Hawai'i Library Foundation.
The 14-year-old said it was "my first time to be a chairperson for any event."
"I've been playing in this tournament since I was 10 and I've always believed in this cause," Wie said. "I love to read and I love to golf, so I'm very happy to be able to combine the two and help promote literacy in Hawai'i."
The tournament is Sept. 17 at Ko Olina Golf Club. Last year it raised more than $85,000.
Hawai'i courses dot top-100 list
Manele Bay on Lana'i and the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui tied for second in Conde Nast Traveler magazine's ninth annual readers' poll ranking the Top 100 golf resorts in North America and the Caribbean.
The Lodge at Koele (Lana'i) was fourth, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows (Big Island) sixth and Fairmont Orchid (Big Island) ninth as Hawai'i resorts filled half the top 10 positions.
Other Hawai'i resorts in the poll were: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (11), Hyatt Regency Kaua'i Resort & Spa (12), Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (16), Princeville Resort (21), Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa (25), Kaua'i Marriott Resort & Beach Club (28), Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (31), Maui Prince Hotel (32), Kapalua Bay Hotel (33), Hapuna Beach Prince (37), JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa (62), Hilton Waikoloa Village (73) and Turtle Bay Resort (82).
The poll asked readers to evaluate more than 300 properties on course design, speed of play, golf services/staff, accommodations, food and other activities.