Sports Local players’ rounds are mixed bag By Ann Miller Sept. 20, 2014 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COMKevin Hayashi had three birdies on his way to an even-par 72. 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. That spectacular round of 60 shot by Tom Pernice Jr. in the first round of the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship Friday was no shock to Kevin Hayashi, Casey Nakama and Scott Simpson. "The greens are so awesome that if you hit a good putt it has a good chance to go in," Hayashi said. "It doesn’t matter what distance it is." Hayashi and Nakama, who qualified Monday at Kapolei Golf Course, could not keep up. Neither could Simpson, the 1987 U.S. Open champ who plans to move back to Kailua full-time next year. Hayashi is in the Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame and Nakama will be. And while their golf resumes are littered with wins in major Hawaii events, Aloha Section PGA Player of the Year Awards and an early history with many of the Champions Tour players on Asian Tours, they are now full-time teachers. Nakama’s Golf Development Center at Olomana has produced many of Hawaii’s finest juniors, most famously Michelle Wie. Hayashi, from Hilo, is a prominent instructor on the island of Hawaii and now works at Nanea. "When you only play once a year out here it’s hard to relax," acknowledged Simpson, who won seven times on the regular tour and has one more title with the seniors, in his first full season (2006). "You’ve got to trust your own game, not try to do things you wouldn’t normally do. They are good enough to play well, just sometimes you get out of your element and start pressing a little bit." Simpson, who "just edged" Nakama to win the 1979 Hawaii State Open at Ala Wai, had 12 one-putt greens Friday in his round of 1-under-par 71. Hayashi, with three birdies and a chip-in for par, managed a 72. It’s the same number he shot two years ago in the inaugural Pacific Links. He finished 59th that year and collected nearly $4,000. "We’re competitive," Hayashi said, "so if we’re out there we want play well. I was hoping to shoot better. For me, I don’t play enough to shoot 6 under every day, but I think I have it in me to shoot one or two low rounds. "The competitive part is the exciting part — to be able to play with these guys I idolize. It’s easier on this tour to be comfortable, but you know golf. If you’re just a little off, 1 inch here or there and you don’t make the putt." Nakama knows the feeling. He opened with a birdie-free 78. But the Champions Tour has no cut and everybody who finishes gets a check. He has nothing to lose. Somehow that doesn’t help much when you’re playing with a bunch of famous names, in front of your friends. "I was uncomfortable the whole day, just trying too hard," Nakama shrugged. "Trying to do good and do the things that you did when you qualified. But I just wasn’t comfortable, kept hitting the ball in the rough, one thing after another. I tried using the same keys I usually do, it was just not going straight. As he tells "Casey’s Kids," you have to get past that. "Unfortunately, I only get one crack at this," Nakama says. "If I had four or five chances in a row, I’m pretty sure I could get comfortable. But it’s still nice just seeing a lot of the guys we played with in the Far East and it’s so much more relaxed out here. Everybody is real good, they are all pulling for you. The atmosphere is real different from the real tour." Simpson has thrived, winning nearly $5 million in his senior career. But, after another year or two, his dream is to become the next Casey Nakama or Kevin Hayashi. "I love to teach," said Simpson, who has already worked with Hawaii’s Kimberly Kim, Mari Chun and David Fink. "The last two years I’ve taught a little at Ko Olina, mainly to find out if I like it or not and I really liked it." Previous Story Hawaii sweeps Northern Arizona in volleyball Next Story Game Day!