THE GOLF PAGE
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mid-Pacific Country Club superintendent Jason Amoy had a tough task getting the course ready for the Mid-Pacific Open.
Course superintendent Amoy and his crew worked hard to get the Country Club in playing shape
THE RAIN that bombarded the islands for more than a month created havoc for every golf course in Hawaii and left a lot of people wondering whether this year's Mid-Pacific Open will go on as scheduled.
Well, thanks to Jason Amoy, it will.
Where: Mid-Pacific Country Club
Defending champion: John Lynch
2005: John Lynch
2004: Reagan Lee
2003: Reagan Lee
2002: Reagan Lee
2001: Larry Stubblefield
2000: Beau Yokomoto
1999: Greg Meyers
1998: Keith Kollmeyer
1997: Greg Meyers
1996: Casey Nakama
1995: Brandan Kop
1994: Darren Doi
1993: Lance Suzuki
1992: Lance Suzuki
1991: Jeff Richardson
1990: Greg Meyers
1989: David Ishii
1988: No tournament
1987: Lance Suzuki
1986: David Ishii
1985: Richard Martinez
1984: Lance Suzuki
1983: Lance Suzuki
1982: Wendell Tom
1981: Lance Suzuki
1980: Allan Yamamoto
1979: John Kalinka
1978: Lance Suzuki
1977: Lance Suzuki
1976: Allan Yamamoto
1975: Charles Barenaba
1974: Ron Castillo
1973: Larry Lee
1972: Larry Stubblefield
1971: Chipper Garriss
1970: Rick Weihe
1969: Joe Carr
1968: Allan Yamamoto
1967: No tournament
1966: Jerry Barber
1965: Jesus Rodriguez
1964: Paul Scodeller
1963: Jerry Barber
1962: Paul Scodeller
1961: No tournament
1960: Al Greer
1959: Paul Scodeller
1958: Ted Makalena
1957: Ted Makalena
1956: Guinea Kop
Note: The winning pro will take home $12,500 of the $60,000 purse . . . The top 22 in all flights will be awarded money or gift certificates.
"When it first started raining I wasn't too concerned," said Amoy, the golf course superintendent at the Mid-Pacific Country Club, site of the four-day tournament that begins tomorrow. "But when it kept on raining, that's when I started to get concerned.
"When that low pressure just kept hanging around and hanging around, that wasn't good news," he added.
"And we watched the satellite, the radar, every day and when we saw what was coming up that Friday morning (March 31), it looked like it was going to come across the southern side of the islands and that's when I was really concerned. I could just imagine a course that was already extremely saturated to go through several inches of rainfall in one event, that's what really concerned me.
"At that point you kind of throw your hands up in the air. You know you lost the battle. It's all damage control at that point."
HARDEST HIT, said Amoy, were the 12th and 15th fairways.
Nestled in a low-line area next to innocent looking slopes of a mountain, tons and tons of rock came crashing down on the course, making the 15th and 16th fairway resemble a rock quarry. And with all the rocks came an endless rush of water and mud that flowed through both fairways all the way to the 12th.
That part of the course was so bad one MPCC member said a portion of the 12th fairway was dubbed Lake Lanikai.
"All you could see was water," Vince Yim said.
Amoy, a Kamehameha Schools graduate who got a horticultural degree from the University of Hawaii and has been at MPCC for 3 1/2 years, said all he could do was wait until it stopped raining. And when the rain finally subsided, he didn't waste any time getting the course competition-ready.
"We let the course drain out over the weekend," Amoy said.
"And the following Monday the guys were out there and we were able to start shoveling sand into the bunkers. Obviously we had a lot of pumping of water off the course and the pick up of tons of rock debris (and) mud debris started almost immediately in the areas we could get to.
"But really, we were sitting on one hand waiting for the ground to dry.
"We did what we could at the time. But our priorities was kind of clear the way (of rocks, mud and debris) and let things dry up in the meantime."
Mowing, he said, was out of the question.
"We couldn't get any kind of heavy equipment out there," said Amoy.
"The ground was so soft and saturated," he added. "Just merely walking on the turf left muddy footsteps and damage so taking heavy equipment out there was almost nonexistent."
The 15th fairway was still not mowed as of last Thursday because there were still patches of standing water on the 388-yard, downhill, dog-leg right par-4 hole.
But thanks to a little more sunshine, less rain and some wind, Amoy said the course should be fit for play.
"I WISH WE didn't go through as much rain as we did," said Amoy, who started out at the Koolau Golf Course before moving on to The Experience at Koele on Lanai, Mamala Bay in Kaneohe and the Waialae Country Club. "The course won't play the way I would have liked the course to play. We simply ran out of time.
"But I think the course will play well. It's going to present a tremendous challenge."
Amoy said most of the credit should go to his crew, who has been out on the course working 12 hours a day to get the 6,792-yard, par-72 layout ready for play. The other factor, Amoy said, is the weather cleared up.
"And it cleared up in a hurry," he said.
Amoy's work has not gone unnoticed.
MPCC head pro Mark Sousa said he was amazed at how Amoy and his crew cleaned up the course and made it presentable for this week's competition.
"He's like our ace in the hole; a miracle worker," said Sousa. "The club is very fortunate to have him."
On the PGA Tour
Redstone Golf Club, The Tournament Course (7,422 yards, par 72)
USA (Thurs.-Fri.), CBS (Sat.-Sun.)
Vijay Singh won the tournament for the second straight year and third time in four years, beating John Daly on the first hole of a playoff. Singh and Curtis Strange are the only three-time winners in tournament history.
On the LPGA Tour
FLORIDA'S NATURAL CHARITY CHAMPIONSHIP
Eagle's Landing Country Club (6,401 yards, par 72)
Annika Sorenstam won the fourth of her 10 2005 LPGA Tour titles, finishing at 23-under 265 for a 10-stroke victory. She shot 67-64-67-67.
Lorena Ochoa rebounded from a playoff loss in the Kraft Nabisco with a wire-to-wire victory in the Takefuji Classic in Las Vegas.
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