Big Island pair reach U.S. Open sectional
Advertiser Staff and News Services
A pair of Hawai'i amateurs earned berths in a U.S. Open men's championship sectional by finishing in the top two of a local qualifier yesterday at the Waikoloa Beach Golf Course on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island.
Honoka'a High School sophomore Sean Maekawa, who captured the Big Island Interscholastic Federation championship earlier this month, fired a 1-under 69 to earn medalist honors. KC Botelho, of Honoka'a, was second with a 72.
Both advanced to sectional qualifying at Ka'anapali's North Course on Maui on June 6.
The top golfer there will qualify for the 105th U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina from June 16 through 19.
Aloha Section PGA Player of the Year John Lynch, of Kailua, Kona, secured the first alternate spot with a 73. Former Honolulu resident Parker McLachlin, who was Hawai'i's sectional qualifier last year, is the second alternate after shooting a 74.
In other qualifying action yesterday, 14-year-old Carmen Bandea beat out 44 male golfers and tied 11 others, but it wasn't enough to advance to sectional qualifying.
Bandea shot a 4-over 76 at Planterra Ridge Golf Club, southwest of Atlanta, leaving her seven strokes behind the last group of qualifiers. She tied for 72nd among the 127 golfers who completed 18 holes. Eleven others withdrew.
The only other females who attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open this year were Honolulu's Michelle Wie and LPGA Tour professional Isabelle Beisiegel. They both failed to move on to sectional qualifying.
Bandea will attempt to qualify for the men's Public Links Championship and U.S. Amateur.
She expects to take another shot at the Open in 2006.
"You can always expect more from yourself," she said. "I'm sure I'll try to do it again next year."