Wednesday, January 13, 1999
By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
David Ishii blasts out of a bunker en route to winning
yesterday's Johnny Bellinger Shoot-Out at the
Waialae Country Club.
Ishii winsBy Paul Arnett
year in a row
It's a good thing David Ishii doesn't play the $25,000 Johnny Bellinger Shoot-Out every day of the year, or Walter Dods would have to take out a loan.
For the second year in a row, the chief executive officer of First Hawaiian Bank wrote a $5,500 check to Ishii. It is the third time he has won the 12-year-old event.
Ishii was almost knocked out on the first hole but survived a bunker blast with fellow local pro golfer Scott Simpson. Ishii eventually beat Fred Funk under similar circumstances on the 17th.
Both golfers parred, forcing a chip-off. Ishii chose to blast out of the front-side bunker. His ball landed three feet from the hole, prompting Funk to say, "See you guys later."
Funk's remark proved prophetic as his bunker blast flew 20 feet over the top of the pin, setting up the finale between Ishii and John Huston.
After Huston knocked a 3-wood into the light rough on the right side on No. 18, Ishii hit a perfect drive down the left. He followed that shot with a big 3-iron that rolled to the back of the green. Huston's second shot came up short. His chip landed 12 feet below the hole.
Ishii's 50-foot eagle attempt rolled to within three feet. He ran it in for birdie, just after Huston's birdie attempt broke on by.
"John actually played the best of anybody," said Ishii, who also pocketed $8,000 for winning the Pro Tour Players' Challenge earlier in the day. "You just have to get lucky."
Ishii downplayed the idea that this victory could help in entering tomorrow's first round of the $2.6 million Sony Open in Hawaii. Last year, the Bellinger Shoot-Out winner finished tied for next-to-last in the final Hawaiian Open.
"This is just for fun and the guys out here play like it," Ishii said. "I'm happy I was able to win so I could do something for charity."
Not only did Ishii donate his purse to junior golf, but donated $3000 of his earnings in the Pro Tour Players' Challenge to Shriners Hospital as well.