Sports Kua tops Wilson at Mid-Pacific Open By Ann Miller April 22, 2013 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COMTJ Kua hit a shot out of a bunker at the 14th hole on Sunday at the Mid-Pacific Open on his way to a win. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. TJ Kua and Dean Wilson separated themselves from the field in the third round of the 55th Mid-Pacific Open. Kua stood alone in Sunday’s final round. The 23-year-old University of Hawaii graduate rode a spectacular second-round 62 to victory, beating Wilson by four shots. No one else got within 12 at Mid-Pacific Country Club. Wilson, 20 years older than Kua, has been on the PGA Tour for most of the past decade. The Castle High graduate won once, but now has limited tour status. He came home in December to win his second Hawaii State Open. That was the beginning of Kua’s recent surge. He has now gone 10 straight tournament rounds without shooting over par, after nearly knocking over the pin from off the green on the final hole Sunday for birdie. Wilson could only smile at that point. Playing partner John Oda, the state high school champion, began applauding. Kua birdied two of the last three for an even-par 72. His four-day total was 15-under 273 — two off the tournament record set by his uncle, David Ishii, in 1986. "It wasn’t a thought because usually when you shoot 10 under the next round is horrible," Kua said. "But me and Dean had a birdie duel Saturday (both shot 67) and I lost track of what I was shooting. When we counted it up, I was like, ‘Whoa, I have a chance.’ " Gusty Kona winds probably prevented Kua from attacking the record, but that was about all he missed Sunday — along with nine greens in regulation. That made this win stressful from the start. "I’ve never grinded in a round like that," he said. "I missed green after green after green, had par putt after par putt after par putt. "I was very fortunate my putting stuck around. That’s nice to see in crunch time." His short game erased the drama for everyone else, especially Wilson, whose only birdie in a final-round 72 came on the final hole. He had many more chances to cut his deficit. Missed putts and Kua’s uncanny short game denied him. "There were a lot of opportunities," Wilson said. "I just didn’t get anything going. Whenever he needed to make a putt, he made it." He grinned. "I calculated," Wilson said, "about 200 feet of putts." After playing the front nine in 2 over, Kua took a three-shot advantage to the back. He drained a 10-footer for par on the 11th and a 20-footer on the 14th. He chipped within 2 feet for par on two other holes, two-putted for birdie on the 16th and nearly slam-dunked his approach for eagle at 17. Kua’s 62 Friday was a course record. He missed one green in regulation that day, and holed out from the bunker there. He needed 26 putts, which means a score in the 50s was possible. "It always happens," Kua said. "You shoot a low round, but you still look back and there was a 15-footer here, a 15-footer there you could have made. "But it was just things went my way. I gave myself a lot of opportunities to play well that day, at least from inside 10 feet. I was just fortunate the short game was there this whole week." Punahou senior Kalena Preus (74—287), who will play for Texas in the fall, won the championship flight by two shots over freshman teammate Kyle Suppa (70). Billy Bomar beat Casey Nakama in a playoff to win the 36-hole senior pro flight. Both finished at 74—149. Doug Banks (77—153) won senior amateur. David Long (82—319) won the A flight by 11 shots, and 77-year-old Wendell Kop (81—236) took B flight by nine. Previous Story Cal State Northridge finishes off sweep of Hawaii Next Story NFL Draft '13: When will Te'o be selected?