comscore Hawaii State Open offers stars from past, present | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Hawaii State Open offers stars from past, present

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    Scott Simpson, who plays on the Champions Tour, has won the Hawaii State Open four times.

All the diverse faces of Hawaii golf will peek out from Mauna Lani’s lava desert this weekend when the resort officially takes over title sponsorship of the Hawaii State Open.

The tournament dates back to 1928 and has been played all over the state, most recently at Turtle Bay. Mauna Lani, which hosted the Senior Skins for 11 years, made a $120,000 commitment this year to host the event through 2014. Pros are playing for $45,000 and amateurs $10,000 in merchandise certificates.

The field of 160-plus features Open (pros and amateurs), Senior (pros and amateurs), Women (pros and amateurs) and A flights. Names range from Hawaii Golf Hall of Famers to tour players and high school champions.

The senior foursome teeing off on Mauna Lani’s South Course at 8 a.m. Friday is made up of David Ishii, Scott Simpson, Casey Nakama and Kevin Hayashi.

Ishii and Hayashi are in Hawaii’s Hall of Fame and have each won three State Open championships.

Simpson plays on the Champions Tour and has won four State Opens, along with the 1987 U.S. Open.

Nakama won the Hawaii State Open in 1987 and his golf academy kick-started Michelle Wie’s career, along with many other juniors.

Three hours later, Dean Wilson, John Oda, Sean Maekawa and Kalena Preus tee off in the Open flight. Wilson won six times on the Japan PGA tour before joining the PGA Tour, where he won the 2006 International. He has collected more than $9 million in his career, but his only win in the State Open came in 2007. He was second to Makawao’s Sam Cyr last year.

Maekawa, who just joined the All-American Professional Golf Tour, was fourth last year. He won the 2007 state high school title his senior year at Honokaa, then played for Oregon before turning pro. Oda, a Moanalua junior, is the reigning state high school champion, while Preus, a Punahou senior, is headed to Texas on a golf scholarship in the fall.

Leilehua graduate Nick Mason, who won the Mid-Pacific Open earlier this year, is looking for his second Open title in four years. Tour pro Parker McLachlin is looking for his first and is playing in a group with former U.S. Public Links champ Casey Watabu and juniors Donny Hopoi and Richard Hattori, who just qualified for the Sony Open in Hawaii.

There are only nine in the Women’s flight, highlighted by Sacred Hearts graduate Ayaka Kaneko, who played on the LPGA Tour this year. Amateur Nicole Sakamoto, who has won seven of the last eight Hawaii women’s majors she has entered, is also playing. Tamara Surtees is making her pro debut.

The State Open was launched in 1974 as a revival of the original Hawaiian Open, which became a PGA Tour event in 1965. The winner receives the Ted Makalena perpetual trophy. Makalena was the first Hawaii golfer to win a PGA Tour event, capturing the 1966 Hawaiian Open. The Aloha Section PGA took the tournament over in 1993.

The Hawaii State Open benefits the Aloha Section PGA Foundation.

Mauna Lani will use the North and South courses, with the men’s open and senior pros on the South on Friday and Sunday and the women, senior amateurs and A flight on the North. They swap on Saturday. After that second round, the field will be cut in half.


Ching goes after another high finish

Alex Ching, the 2008 state high school champion out of Punahou, is going after his fourth consecutive top-20 finish this week at the 107th Visa Open de Argentina. The seventh-oldest golf championship in the world is the final event of the inaugural PGA Tour Latinoamerica season. It starts today in Buenos Aires.

Ching, an All-American at the University of San Diego, turned pro in June. He had a share of first after the second and third rounds at last week’s Olivos Golf Classic-Copa Personal, also in Buenos Aires. A second-round 65 moved him into first and he shared the lead with 47-year-old Carlos Franco after the third round.

The 22-year-old shot 73 in Sunday’s final round to take fifth and win $5,000. He has won $9,000 in his past three starts, finishing 14th at the Puerto Rico Classic and 18th at the Arturo Calle Colombian Coffee Classic. Those events and this week’s finale all offer $125,000 purses.

Former Visa Open de Argentina champions include Angel Cabrera, Jhonattan Vegas and Roberto De Vicenzo, who won nine times between 1944 and 1974.

Wie HSJGA event set this weekend

A select field of 60 will play in the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association’s annual Michelle Wie HSJGA Tournament of Champions, Saturday and Sunday at Wailea’s Emerald Course on Maui.

This year’s HSJGA winners qualify for the tournament, which is now sponsored by Wie, who won a TOC title early in her HSJGA career. It also serves as the last opportunity to earn points toward "HSJGA Player of the Year" in each age division.

The field includes Millburn Ho, Zoey Akagi-Bustin, Rose Huang, Mariel Galdiano, Eimi Koga, Allisen Corpuz, Ciera Min, Kacie Komoto, Lisa Kang, Eric Le, Taylor John McGerity, Kyle Suppa, Shawn Lu, Pono Tokioka and Skye Inakoshi. Tokioka and Inakoshi will play for the University of Hawaii in the fall.

Golfers tee off starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Hope on Wheels expands presence

Hyundai Hope On Wheels is expanding its presence by presenting a 5K run/walk Jan. 5 — before the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions tees off at Kapalua Plantation.

The run begins at Whalers Village in Kaanapali. Proceeds benefit a partnership between Maui Memorial Hospital, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children and the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank that focuses on childhood cancer research. Hyundai Hope on Wheels began its work for the partnership two years ago when Hyundai took over title sponsorship.

As part of the 5K event, Hope On Wheels will also award a $75,000 Hyundai Scholar Grant to Kapiolani Medical Center.

Participants can register at The cost is $35 until Jan. 4. On-site registration will be available. Children 2-12 can be in the 5K for a discounted rate of $10, which also includes participation in the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Keiki Sprint before the 5K begins.

Each adult 5K registration comes with two passes to the TOC’s final round. The 2013 Hyundai TOC kicks off the PGA Tour season and runs Jan. 4-7 (Friday to Monday). It features winners of this year’s tour events, a list that includes Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney, Sony Open champ Johnson Wagner, and former TOC winners Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia.

Steve Stricker is the defending champion.


  Date Course Hole Yards Club
Bob Otoshi Sept. 19 West Loch Golf Course 12 139 5-hybrid
Leighton Hosegawa Sept. 25 West Loch Golf Course 7 155 rescue
Masaaki Sakai Oct. 13 Pearl Country Club 6 166 6-iron
Carl Segawa Nov. 10 Pali Golf Course 4 217 5-wood
E. Anne Nishimoto Nov. 12 Honolulu Country Club 14 86 PW
Michael Widmer Nov. 13 Poipu Bay Golf Course 3 163 5-wood
Michael Hercher Nov. 14 Olomana Golf Links 8 113 PW
Howard Peralta Nov. 14 Leilehua Golf Course 17 182 rescue
Roy Matsuo Nov. 14 Bay View Golf Course 13 102 9-iron
Walter Chur Nov. 15 Makalena Golf Course 17 107 8-iron
Pearl City
Jason Agua Nov. 16 West Loch Golf Course 17 165 7-wood
Roy Takemoto Nov. 16 Ala Wai Golf Course 1 150 7-wood
Skyler Morikawa Nov. 17 Hickam Kealohi Golf Course 2 142 driver
Ron Koza Nov. 17 Mid-Pacific Golf Course 4 145 6-iron
Shinji Aoshima Nov. 18 Kapolei Golf Course 5 148 7-iron
Shizuoka, Japan
Dexter Smith Nov. 18 Bay View Golf Course 2 123 6-iron
Roger Chun Nov. 18 Pearl Country Club 13 172 5-iron

Send aces to or fax 529-4787.

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