MANOA CUP GOLF
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kellen-Floyd Asao, the 2003 Manoa Cup champion, defeated 2004 winner Ryan Perez in yesterday's second round.
Bottom seed Henry keeps on winning
Two former champions are ousted from the second round of the Manoa Cup
With most of the focus during yesterday's second round on the four remaining past champions of the Manoa Cup going head-to-head, 42-year-old Bill Henry continued his Cinderella run as the tournament's lowest seed.
Fresh off an upset over top-seeded Travis Toyama on Tuesday, the 64th-seeded Henry continued to shine during match play, defeating Troy Higashiyama 4 and 3 to advance to the third round of the state amateur match-play championship yesterday at Oahu Country Club.
Henry will take on Robert Greenleaf, who defeated Tom Goodbody 2 and 1, to open today's third round at 7 a.m.
"This course sets up pretty well for my game, and anything can happen in match play," Henry said. "I was able to squeeze my way through qualifying and now I'm just focused on fitting my game to this course."
Henry, who was captain of the Princeton golf team during his college days, seemed to have run out of luck early as Higashiyama took a two-hole lead after five holes. But an errant tee shot on 6 by Higashiyama opened the door for Henry, who won the next three holes, capping the run with a birdie at 8 to take a one-hole lead.
"I was gaining momentum, and my second shot on 8 got to about 2 feet," Henry said. "Once I took the lead there I just kept on trying to add to it."
Henry increased his lead to 4 up through 14, and another out of bounds tee shot by Higashiyama helped seal the match on 15.
"I never had a chance to practice much before a tournament until this one," Henry said. "I got a chance to work on my short game to prepare and things are working out."
The four defending champions left in the field were matched up against each other yesterday. Four-time winner Brandan Kop held off 1990 champion Richard Sieradzki 5 and 4, while 2003 champion Kellen-Floyd Asao continued to have his way with
the course, knocking off '04 champion Ryan Perez 4 and 3.
"I played a little smarter today and kept myself in play," Asao said. "I didn't use my driver and I didn't want to give up holes by making stupid mistakes."
The first hole proved to be a sign of things to come for Perez, who landed his approach shot within 3 feet of the hole but missed the birdie attempt. Asao slowly built his lead to 4 up after 11 holes, but landed his tee shot on 12 in the water. The No. 2 seed didn't panic, however, and scrambled for a par to halve the hole.
"After I got up four, I put it on cruise control and was just trying to make pars," Asao said. "I almost gave him one at 12, but coming back from that tee shot to halve the hole I think was key."
"I played good, but he was better," Perez added. "I stayed in there the whole time, but couldn't drop the putts when it counted, and once (Asao) gets around the greens, he's pretty deadly."
Asao advances to take on Oahu Country Club member Gary Kong, who defeated Burt Bonk 3 and 2.
"This is his home course, so it's going to be tough," Asao said. "The key to this is going out and trying to make par and if the birdies come, they come."
Third-seeded Pierre-Henri Soero blew a two-hole lead with two holes left as Spencer Shishido birdied 17 and 18 to tie before Soero pulled out the win in 19 holes. It was the second straight day Soero needed extra holes to pull out the victory.
Six of the top 10 seeds remain. Kop, the eighth seed, and No. 9 Shannon Tanoue will face off in one of today's featured matches. Also, No. 10 seed Alvin Okada Jr., who needed 19 holes to defeat Garret Hayashi, will take on sixth-seeded Craig Uyehara, who defeated Phillip Anamizu 2 and 1.