MID-PACIFIC OPEN GOLF
Hayashi jumps out to early Mid-Pacific lead
You can trace the history of local men's golf through the Mid-Pacific Open list of champions.
From inaugural winner Guinea Kop in 1956 and through the decades with Ted Makalena, Lance Suzuki, David Ishii and others, nearly all the big names in Hawaii, amateur and pro, have been etched onto the perpetual trophy.
One glaring omission is Kevin Hayashi, but the affable pro from the Big Island took a step toward adding a new chapter yesterday, and teenagers Tadd Fujikawa and T.J. Kua offered a glimpse of the future.
Hayashi fired a 5-under 67 to take the first-round lead on a windy day when only five others broke par. Chad Saladin was a stroke back at 68, Casey Nakama shot 69, and pros Jerry Mullen and Leland Lindsay, and amateur Chan Kim were at 71. Fujikawa and Kua both shot 74 to tie for third among the amateurs.
Hayashi might be the steadiest golfer in the state, and seems to be improving at age 43 -- enough so that he is planning another shot at the PGA Tour's Q-school. The one major local accomplishment that's eluded him is a Mid-Pac Open title.
"It is kind of a sore point, since I've won pretty much everything else," Hayashi said after yesterday's round.
There was little for him to be irritated about yesterday, other than a couple of missed putts that could've given him a bigger edge going into today's second round.
"I left a couple of short ones out there," Hayashi said.
But he made a long one -- a 30-footer -- to complete the round. It was good for his eighth birdie.
Hayashi also chipped in from behind the No. 7 green, about 40 feet from the hole, for another birdie.
It was the shot of the day by his foursome, with competition from Fujikawa. The 15-year-old nearly aced the 182-yard No. 11. When the ball stopped a few inches from the hole, Hayashi laughed and playfully said, "You missed, Tadd!"
It wasn't that big a deal for Fujikawa. His mother and caddie, Lori, said her son already has three aces.
"My goal is to win, but the way Kevin's playing, he might run away with it," Fujikawa said.
Fujikawa ended his round tied with Kua for first in the championship flight. Both shot 37-37--74.
"Tadd is going to be a star. He might already be one," Hayashi said.
Kua appears headed in that direction, too. The Kamehameha sophomore was the ILH Player of the Year as a freshman. Kua, a nephew of 1986 Mid-Pac champion David Ishii, started playing golf when he was 3.
Lots of players complained about the coarse rough yesterday, but not Kua.
"I can't really say anything about it, because I was in it only twice," he said.
Hayashi kept to the fairways for the most part, too. But it contributed to his double bogey on No. 8 when he couldn't get any distance out of the right rough and his ball hit a tree.
"The rough is bad, but it's fair," Hayashi said.
Defending champion John Lynch shot 38-40--78, playing with Hayashi, Fujikawa and 1995 champion Brandan Kop (39-36--75 yesterday).
Hayashi fell one stroke short of catching Lynch for the title during the final round last year.
At Mid Pacific Country Club
First round, par-72
67--Kevin Hayashi. 68--Chad Saladin. 69--Casey Nakama. 71--Jerry Mullen, Leland Lindsay. 72--Nick Mason, Kenichiro Kato. 73--Norman Asao, Aaron Saromines. 74--Shane Abe. 75--Louie Lee. 76--Jeffrey Ferry, Wade Nishimoto, Shane Hoshino, Hiroshi Ogawa. 77--Joe Phengsavath, Philip Chun. 78--Hans Hussey, Jay Shannon, John Lynch, Mark Takahama.