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Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, March 12, 2001

H A W A I I _ G O L F

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Randy Shibuya drives his way to a victory at the Pearl
Country Club yesterday in the State Amateur
Golf Championship.

Shibuya surprising
amateur winner

By Bill Kwon

It was supposed to be a State Amateur showdown between University of Hawaii golfers Norman-Ganin Asao and Russell Nygard.

They were 1-2, a stroke apart, going into yesterday's final round at the Pearl Country Club.

Instead, Randy Shibuya -- a UH student who didn't even think he was good enough for the Rainbow golf team -- was the last man standing.

Shibuya, the 2000 Manoa Cup champion, shot an even-par 72 for a 72-hole score of 293 to win by one stroke over Gabriel Wilson, a 15-year-old Waiakea High School sophomore.

Wilson closed with a 74, narrowly missing a chance to force a playoff when his birdie pitch at the 18th hole just missed.

Nygard, a senior from Mesa, Ariz., shot a 77 for a 295 total, while Asao, a junior from Pearl City, ended at 296 after a final-round 79.

Playing in the threesome ahead, Shibuya started the day four shots behind Asao and three behind Nygard, who were in the final group with Wilson.

"I didn't know how the leaders were doing. I told myself to just try and make some birdies," said Shibuya, 26, an economics major and part-time cart attendant at the Hawaii Prince Course.

And he did just that, with birdies on 12, 16 and 17 to shoot a 33 on the incoming nine.

Shibuya didn't know it then, but his 20-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th proved to be a two-stroke swing as both Wilson and Nygard bogeyed the hole.

That gave Shibuya the lead, which he protected with another birdie at 17 when he pitched to four feet and made the putt.

With Asao struggling to a 41 on the front nine, Nygard led after 11 holes before bogeying 12 and 13.

"I was hitting the ball decent but scored terrible," said Nygard, who also bogeyed 15 and 16, the latter after a three-putt.

Wilson, who helped to lead Waiakea to the state championship as a ninth-grader last year, also briefly shared the lead until the 16th hole when his tee shot hit a coconut tree and came straight back some 40 yards.

Asao was atop the leaderboard all three days and in position to win his first major event. But his putter, which put him in contention, left him after 36 holes.

"The putts that went in the first two days didn't go in the next two days. It's tough to win if you don't make putts," Asao said.

"Still, it was a good tournament for me. I never gave up."

The shot of the day was turned in by Del-Marc Fujita, who drove the 335-yard seventh hole and sank a six-foot putt for eagle.

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