DAVID S. ISHII/HHSAA STATE BOYS GOLF
'Scared' Kim shoots an even scarier 68
Despite good conditions, only 3 have sub-par rounds on first day of state golf tournament
Chan Kim played scared yesterday, and it worked.
The Kaimuki sophomore birdied his last two holes at the Arnold Palmer course at Turtle Bay, giving him a 4-under 68 and a three-stroke lead going into today's final round of the David S. Ishii/HHSAA state boys golf tournament.
During their round, playing partner Ryan Nagata of Kalani told Kim that Tadd Fujikawa -- with whom Kim shared the Oahu Interscholastic Association championship two weeks ago -- was blowing up the course during yesterday's first round, 5 under par and gaining steam.
"Ryan gave me a scare," Kim said. "He likes to joke around, but I believed him because Tadd is capable of that. It made me go for an eagle on the last hole."
In reality, Fujikawa, the diminutive but powerful Moanalua freshman, was busy fashioning a 1-under-par 71, as was Kamalu Kaina of Kamehameha-Maui. They went into today tied for second.
Kim, Fujikawa and Kaina were the only three to break par on a day when the conditions were good.
"Very calm, no wind," Kim said.
Kim, playing the back nine first, started quickly with birdies on two of his first three holes. He gave a stroke back on No. 18 to make the turn at 1 under.
Then Nagata's fib about Fujikawa's mythical monster round got Kim going.
He birdied No. 3 and closed his round with two more. On the 168-yard par-3 No. 8, Kim left himself a 4-foot birdie putt, which he made. Then, on No. 9, the saxophone player made a 25-footer to complete the day on a sweet note.
"I'm really happy to have no bogeys on the back nine," Kim said.
The Palmer course was used for a U.S. Open qualifier the day before, but the greens were slow yesterday, said Fujikawa, who qualified for the June 5 sectional on Kauai by winning a playoff on Monday.
But the layout played a lot differently he said, partly because the high school players hit from the blue tees rather than the farther-back black ones that were used Monday.
"You would think I'd play better, since I played a full round here (Monday, while the other high schoolers were allowed nine holes of practice), but I had some trouble with club selection," said Fujikawa, who actually shot 3 strokes better yesterday than Monday. "I hit the ball well, but I putted 37 times today, so I need to improve on that."
Fujikawa, who had four birdies and two bogeys, was asked to compare the pressure of playing for a spot in the U.S. Open with that of his first round in a high school state tournament.
"Yesterday was a one-day thing where you score or you're out, so I played aggressively," Fujikawa said. "Today was more laid back, play more conservatively and keep myself in the tournament."
Punahou, led by a 38-34--72 from Mason Davis, held the team lead with 303 strokes from its top four players. Baldwin was second at 305 and defending champion Kauai third at 309.