Maui's Cyr seizes Mid-Pacific title
• Photo gallery: Mid-Pac golf Sunday
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
LANIKAI — It took a cool hand to cope with the precarious conditions at the 52nd Mid-Pacific Open. Makawao's Samuel Cyr was serene to the 72nd hole.
Cyr seized the lead from Dean Wilson on the first hole in yesterday's final round and never let it go, winning by three shots at windy and wild Mid-Pacific Country Club.
Cyr, a King Kekaulike graduate who won the last two NAIA national championships, fired a 2-under-par 70 for his first professional victory. His four-day total of 4-under 284 was good for $14,000 and a one-year membership at the club.
"God's blessed me a lot. He always seems to pick me up when I'm feeling down," said Cyr, a four-time All-American at Point Loma Nazarene before going pro in September. "I was struggling the last couple months a little, not playing as good as I want to and I was spending more money than I was making. So this helps."
Wilson (74-287) was the only other golfer to finish under par for the tournament. The only others to break par yesterday were 'Iolani sophomore Lorens Chan (71-293), who was low amateur and tied for third overall, and Tommy Kim (70-299).
While the wicked conditions took other golf games apart element by element, the 23-year-old Cyr parred the final 10 holes, hitting nearly every fairway and green in regulation and relentlessly rolling in crucial putts in the 3- to 5-foot range.
"I had racing butterflies, but I enjoy it. I think it's fun. That's why we play," said Cyr, playing Mid-Pac for the first time. "We play to win and we want to do well. When you get the jitters it's fun. That's what you want. If you get them you know you are in the right spot. You're playing well and giving yourself a chance to win. That's all we can ask."
Even Wilson — who has won $8 million on the PGA Tour the past five years — ultimately found frustration here, despite the tournament's largest gallery filled with aunties, uncles and cousins. By the time he and Cyr made the turn, Wilson was two back, but at least six clear of everybody else on the course.
His birdie on the 10th hole — the only birdie the final group could muster on the back nine — cut his deficit in half. But that was all the Castle High graduate could convert. The cold, gusty winds and quick, hard greens led to bogeys at 14 and 17.
"The wind made it really hard. It blew really hard the second and third days and with the speed of the greens and firmness it makes it impossible to play, real tough," said Wilson, who also finished second in his only other Mid-Pac appearance, 16 years ago. "You're just playing defense all day. It takes a while to play a round, it probably took us six hours. That's a byproduct of a big field on the weekend and the course being so tough."
Not that Cyr never gave him much chance to make a dent. His only hiccups came on the par-5s and those ended up being easy pars.
He reached the 587-yard 12th in two shots, but three-putted for the second straight day. His second shot on the 16th landed softly on the green below the hole. It picked up speed and veered left, falling down the slope in a combination of bad luck, design and pin placement.
Cyr hit his chip shot too soft. It landed on the edge of the green and appeared to be on its way back to his feet, but got caught up in the collar at the top and left him a simple two-putt for par.
"Sam played solid all day," Wilson said. "On the first hole I three-putted and he birdied and I could never seem to get any momentum. It's tough to make birdies out there and real easy to make bogeys.
"He didn't make any mistakes for two days, just played nice and solid."
That was true all week. Cyr found just one bunker in four days and admitted to just one bad swing off the tee. He was frustrated with his putting early, but made everything he needed yesterday.
"Everything is close and kind of came together this week," he said. "I hit the ball really well and it got progressively better as the days went on. I was really thinking my way around."
No one could match that. Former Nationwide Tour player Nathan Lashley went into the final round two off of Wilson's lead, but shot 78 and finished third, nine behind Cyr. Nick Mason (77-297), who was second in February's Hawai'i Pearl Open, took fourth.
Stan Souza won the Senior championship, which was contested over the first 36 holes. Souza shot rounds of 72-73-73-79 and tied for fifth overall with David Ishii (75-298). Paul Kimura (76-76-152) won the senior's low amateur title. The A Flight winner was Rocky Reed (80-316) and Clifford Nishikawa (86-343) won B Flight.