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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 11, 2006

Teens Wie, Bandea take shot at U.S. Open

 •  Kim, 16, mixes music, mean game on links

Advertiser Staff

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The first of four Hawai'i U.S. Open local qualifiers will be Saturday at Wailea Gold. Michelle Wie and Carmen Bandea the only two females to try and qualify for the Open this year will tee it up with the guys Monday at Turtle Bay's Palmer Course.

First tee time is 7:30 a.m. Monday. Wie starts at 9 a.m. and Bandea at 8:20 a.m.

Wie, 16, is playing with 2004 Manoa Cup champion Ryan Perez and Norman Ganin-Asao, the 2000 Cup runner-up. Bandea, 15, is with Jason Deigert and Kamehamea sophomore TJ Kua, David Ishii's nephew.

Wie, Bandea and pro Isabelle Beisiegel all failed to qualify for the U.S. Open last year. Bandea, from Duluth, Ga., has a scholarship to the David Leadbetter Golf Academy but sees tennis as her sport of the future. Wie works with Leadbetter, one of the world's most well-known golf instructors.

There are 41 players in the Turtle Bay qualifier. They come from seven states, French Polynesia, Japan and New Caledonia, home of University of Hawai'i golfer Pierre-Henri Soero. He won the Hawai'i sectional last year and played in the U.S. Open.

The top three at Turtle Bay and Wailea where 48 golfers have entered advance to a 36-hole sectional. The qualifier at Waikoloa Beach (May 22) has 34 entrants and two will advance. Po'ipu Bay (May 19) has 21 players, with one advancing.

Hawai'i will hold a sectional June 5 at Po'ipu Bay, with at least one player advancing to the U.S. Open, June 15 to 18 at Winged Foot in New York.

Nearly 1,100 entries were accepted for the U.S. Women's Open, with the final entry coming from Lahaina's Dawn Kaneshiro last Wednesday, 33 minutes before the deadline. The 2006 Open will be June 29 to July 2 at Newport Country Club in Newport, R.I.

Local qualifying at 16 sites begins Monday with Hawai'i's qualifier May 18 at Ko Olina. The top five in a field of 18 advance to 36-hole sectionals. Hawai'i's sectional one of eight sites is June 13 at the same place. At least one golfer that day advances to the Open.


USGA Women's Amateur: Registration deadline for the 106th USGA Women's Amateur Championship is June 21. Local qualifying will be July 5 at Waikoloa Beach.

The 18-hole qualifier is open to female amateurs with a handicap of 5.4 or less. Qualifiers advance to the championship, Aug. 7 to 13 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore.

To register, call the USGA at (904) 234-2300 to request an entry or go to usga.org/championships/apply to download a form or register online.

Hickam Invitational: The Hickam Invitational, postponed last weekend because of bad weather, has been rescheduled for Sept. 8 to 10.