Hayashi figures out Mid-Pac’s greens fastest
Forget about the idea of going for the flag. Some of the pin placements at yesterday's second round of the Mid-Pacific Open were so daunting, many players opted to not even shoot for the green.
"You have to miss it in the right places," said halfway leader Kevin Hayashi, who shot a 1-over 73 yesterday after his first-round 67 on Thursday. "Personally, I like it tough. I hear a lot of comments, but I like it tough. You have to mentally manage the course."
The fast greens at Mid-Pac are challenging enough as it is. Put the pins in the right (or, depending on your perspective, wrong) places, and par becomes a tough proposition for even the state's best golfers. Only Mid-Pac assistant pro Joe Phengsavath (70) and Japan pro Kenichiro Kato (71) broke the standard yesterday.
Kato and Olomana pro Casey Nakama ended the second round tied for second at 143.
"They shortened the tees ... but the pin placements," said Nakama, after fashioning a 73.
Phengsavath, who shot 77 on Thursday, would have made up more ground on Hayashi if not for three-putt bogeys on his first and last holes. He eagled the 525-yard No. 5 after bombing a 330-yard drive and making a 15-foot putt.
"I wasn't trying for eagle, just trying to leave it close," he said. "You don't want to be greedy here."
Larry Stubblefield, 56, said the course was tough, but it might have helped experienced players like himself. Stubblefield managed a 73, leaving him a stroke behind David Ishii in the senior pro division.
"It put players on the defensive on the greens," said Stubblefield, who won this event in 2001. "Probably half the field putted off at least one green. I'm not sure. If the course played more naturally we'd see more of the young players come to the top. The course would demand better ball striking."
To illustrate that, teenagers Tadd Fujikawa (78) and T.J. Kua (80) struggled after first-round 74s that had them near the top of the championship flight.
"I couldn't do anything today," Kua said. "I was all over the place."
Chan Kim led the championship flight after yesterday with 71-74--145.
Ishii, who won the tournament in 1986, shot a 75 yesterday. The newest member of the Aloha Section PGA's Hall of Fame played with another dominant player from the past, eight-time Mid-Pac winner Lance Suzuki.
Suzuki now works with Nakama teaching youngsters at Olomana, and rarely plays in tournaments anymore. He shot 76 for the second straight day.
"It's hard to maintain the rhythm when you're older," the former Kahuku basketball and baseball standout said. "But it's still fun."
Defending champion John Lynch shot 79 yesterday to go with Thursday's 78.