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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Manini-Hew Len, Kim win OIA golf crowns

Advertiser Staff

Sophomores Ha'aheo Manini-Hew Len of Roosevelt and Chan Kim of Kaimuki won individual titles yesterday at the O'ahu Interscholastic Association's championship tournament at Turtle Bay's Fazio Course.

Kahuku won the boys team title for the first time since 1995, and Moanalua captured its fourth OIA girls team crown in seven years. Leilehua's boys and Pearl City's girls won the OIA Western Division championships.

Manini-Hew Len has played in big golf tournaments before, and even won a few here and on the Mainland. But she admitted yesterday's victory was special.

"It feels great," said Manini-Hew Len, who shot a 1-over 73 in yesterday's second round to finish two strokes ahead of Leilehua's Britney Choy, the two-time defending champion. "I've practiced a lot and worked hard, and it paid off. So it felt good."

Manini-Hew Len and Choy started the day tied for first after each shot a 2-over 72 at Ala Wai in last week's first round. Choy finished with a 75 yesterday, but Manini-Hew Len did not know about that because she played in a group behind Choy's.

"I thought I did good, but I didn't know if I won because all the times (Choy) plays this course, she's either even (par) or under," Manini-Hew Len said.

Choy, a senior, had won the past two OIA titles at Turtle Bay.

But yesterday, Manini-Hew Len shot her best round at Fazio, a course she does not play often. She had two birdies on the front nine and made the turn at 1-under, then overcame some tough breaks to finish 2-over on the back.

"The course was pretty good it was hot, but the wind wasn't too strong until the end," Manini-Hew Len said. "I was pretty steady on the front, and on the back I had a bogey that brought me back to even and then I had some birdie putts that lipped out. But I hung in there."

Manini-Hew Len, who finished fifth in last year's OIA championships, already had a strong golf resume before high school. In 2002, at age 11, she won an age group title at the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships in Williamsburg, Va., and she later had victories in the Hawai'i State Junior Golf Association Tournament of Champions (2002) and Callaway Hawai'i State Junior Championships (2003).

In 2004, she advanced to the quarterfinals of the Hawai'i women's State Match Play Championship.

Kim also has made a name for himself recently, staying in contention through three rounds of the prestigious Mid-Pacific Open last month. In February, he teamed with Moanalua freshman Tadd Fujikawa to win the HPLGA Four Ball Championship.

Yesterday, Kim and Fujikawa each shot a 3-under 69 to finish in a tie for first place. The OIA employs a "scorecard tiebreaker," and Kim won with a birdie on the first hole to Fujikawa's par.

"I was a bit relieved, in a way," said Kim, who sank his first-hole birdie putt from 25 feet on the apron. "I actually play with Tadd a lot, but I think I would have gotten nervous (if it went to extra holes). Anything can happen in a playoff."

Kim parred his final two holes, then watched Fujikawa settle for par on his last hole. They began the day tied for first with Kalani's Ryan Nagata after shooting even-par 70 at Ala Wai last week.

The OIA's top 25 girls and top 45 boys qualified for the state tournaments.

ILH

KONO, FINK IN LEADS AFTER FIRST ROUND

Punahou sophomore Stephanie Kono shot a 1-under 70 on Monday at Waialae Country Club to take a whopping seven-stroke lead after the first round of the Interscholastic League of Hono-lulu championships.

The second and final round will be held today at Waialae.

Ashlee Nagamine of La Pietra is in second place with a 77.

Players with the lowest nine scores (plus ties) advanced to today's second round.

Also at Waialae on Monday, Iolani's David Fink shot an even-par 71 to finish the first round of the boys competition alone in first place. He holds a one-stroke lead over Punahou's Jack Sisler.

Players with the lowest 20 scores (plus ties) advanced to today's second round.