U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR PUBLIC LINKS
Kono and Kim sisters trying to catch Jun
The three Hawaii golfers are tied for 20th in public links stroke play
Nine girls from Hawaii are at various locations on the leaderboard after yesterday's first round of stroke-play qualifying at the 2006 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship at Pueblo, Colo.
While 20-year-old Hannah Jun of San Diego opened with a 6-under 66 to take a one-shot lead over fellow Californian Mina Harigae (67) and a two-shot advantage over fellow San Diego star Allison Goodman (68), the Hawaii connection is still within range.
Hilo sisters Christine and Kimberly Kim, and Punahou School star Stephanie Kono are tied for 20th after fashioning 1-over rounds of 73. Hilo's Amanda Wilson and Mari Chun of Pearl City were another two shots back at 75 in a tie for 49th.
In all, 15 golfers broke par at the Walking Stick Golf Course in temperatures that soared to 102 degrees. The second qualifying round takes place today with the field being cut to the low 64 golfers for match play, which begins tomorrow. The 36-hole final is scheduled for Sunday.
That leaves most of the local girls still in contention, including Moanalua High's Jaclyn Hilea, who is tied for 74th after opening with a 77. Rounding out the island girls are Honolulu's Cyd Okino (78), who is tied for 85th, Wailuku's Kelly Nakashima (79), who is tied for 98th, and Lori Planos of Kapalua, whose 82 was good enough for a tie for 119th.
Jun is still recovering from a serious car accident she was involved in with UCLA football player Justin Medlock. Medlock was charged with a felony for driving under the influence. She suffered a fracture in her neck, but didn't need surgery. Jun eventually helped the Bruins finish tied for 11th in the NCAA tournament.
"Golf's definitely not that big of a deal," Jun said in an interview on the USGA Web site, adding perspective following the accident. "It's a blessing to be out here. I've been just practicing and playing (since NCAAs) and taking it day by day. It feels good right now, but you never know. (Physically), I feel great."
Kono is just passing through Colorado on her way to the U.S. Women's Open, where she will join fellow Punahou School student Michelle Wie next week in Rhode Island.