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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 9, 2006

State amateur tees off at Pearl CC

 •  Windward courses hit hard by recent storm

Advertiser Staff

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Nearly 100 players tee off today in the Hawai'i State Amateur Stroke Play Championship. The 72-hole event ends Sunday at Pearl Country Club.

Former Rainbow Matt Kodama won the past two titles. A third-round 67 last year propelled him to a three-shot victory over Japan's Toru Nakajima. Kodama also captured Nevada's State Amateur. He graduated in May and has moved back to the Mainland and turned pro.

Nakajima is in this year's 97-player field, along with Kellen-Floyd Asao, who was third last year, Brandan Kop, who was fifth, and Ryan Perez, who shared ninth with Jonathan Ota.

Asao, Kop and Perez have all won the Manoa Cup, given to the state amateur match-play champion. Kop, a four-time Manoa Cup champion, is the only former stroke-play champion in the field.

Moanalua freshman Tadd Fujikawa is also playing. Fujikawa, 15, is 30 years younger than Kop and just won the HPLGA Four Ball Championship with Chan Kim. Fujikawa won two other open amateur events last year.

Golfers go off the first and 10th tees from 11:24 a.m. today and 6:51 a.m. tomorrow. The field will be cut to the low 40 and ties for the final two rounds, which start at 11:24 a.m. each day.


Hawai'i's Michelle Wie will use one of her six LPGA sponsor exemptions to make her third consecutive appearance at the Evian Masters, the tour announced. The tournament is played in Evian-les-Bains, France, July 26 to 29.

The event precedes the Weetabix Women's British Open. Wie finished third there last year to qualify for the 2006 LPGA major.

Wie was 33rd in her first Evian appearance. She shared second with Lorena Ochoa last year, eight behind Paula Creamer.


Golf World has yet to resume coverage of the LPGA. The magazine, along with O'ahu's two daily newspapers and Associated Press, refused to sign new LPGA credential forms when the tour opened its season here last month. The credentials gave the tour rights over tournament stories and photos.

The issue caused AP and the two papers not to cover the first round of the inaugural Fields Open in Hawai'i Feb. 24. Coverage resumed when a compromise was reached that included deleting an offending paragraph which the news organizations did the first week of the season for the SBS Open at Turtle Bay.

Golf World's statement reads in part that the LPGA's new photography requirements "made demands well beyond the accepted standards of the PGA Tour and ruling bodies of other sports," causing the magazine to run only Fields Open scores. The magazine, and sister publications Golf Digest and Golf for Women, are in negotiations with the LPGA to settle the dispute.

Golfweek magazine currently features a column by staffer Jay Coffin, who attended both Hawai'i events, criticizing the LPGA for not dealing with its new policies in the offseason.

"Don't bring off-course problems to an on-course event," Coffin wrote. "Players and sponsors don't deserve such treatment."


Play Golf America Day, March 25 at Ko Olina Golf Club, will feature free instruction, short game evaluations and clinics conducted by Hawai'i PGA instructors.

Recent Teachers of the Year Kevin Ralbovsky and Jerry King are among those who will assist at the event. There will also be video swing analysis provided by Ko Olina Golf Academy's Director of Instruction, Sean Lanyi.

Titleist, Cobra, Callaway, Nike Golf, Ping and others will have their latest equipment available to test, with custom fittings available. There will also be short game contests and a merchandise sale with discounts of up to 60 percent.

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ko Olina's practice area. Along with the golf activities, hot dogs, chips, and soft drinks will also be free.

Golfers can register online at www.playgolfamerica.com.