JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kevin Hayashi, left, Darren Summers and David Ishii were all in the hunt at the Mid-Pacific Open yesterday.
Summers time at Mid-Pac
Hayashi comes up short 1 more time
Another year, another runner-up finish for Kevin Hayashi at Mid-Pacific Country Club.
Scotland's Darren Summers made up four strokes on Hayashi over the final six holes and defeated the Hilo resident on the second playoff hole to claim the 49th Mid-Pacific Open.
It's a highly familiar setting for the 44-year-old Hayashi, who has won just about every local tournament but this one.
Hayashi suffered five previous second-place finishes in Lanikai, including each of the past two years, but this one was his to win -- and lose. In the end, it was just as much about what Summers did right down the stretch as what Hayashi couldn't do -- close out strong.
Hayashi bogeyed the final three regulation holes, while the Scotsman made par on the last five -- good enough on the stretch of course considered to be the club's toughest. After Summers forced a playoff at a four-round total of 290, they both bogied the 18th hole. The two faced equidistant putts for par on the second extra hole, but Summers' confidence tipped the scales.
They both chipped their third shots to within 4 feet, so close to each other in distance a measurement was required to see who would putt first. Hayashi, slightly farther, put his ball an inch short and left, handing Summers a golden opportunity. He confidently drained his putt and raised two fists high with a wide grin.
After the two shook hands, Hayashi dejectedly walked back to the clubhouse.
"Kevin's a great player," Summers said. "That was the only chance I was going to get to beat him, so I holed that putt."
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Darren Summers blasted out of a bunker on No. 18 yesterday at the Mid-Pacific Open.
Hayashi shot a blistering 67 on Saturday to enter the day at 2 under, and birdied 12 and 13 yesterday to remain at par for the day. He stayed firmly in the driver's seat until the par-5 16th.
David Ishii passed Hayashi on the back nine last year to win by three strokes. When Hayashi three-putted 16 with Ishii and Summers hovering behind this time, horrible memories came flooding back.
"Oh, definitely, definitely," Hayashi said. "I was like, 'Ugh, how could this happen again.' I shouldn't be thinking like that, but that's what I was thinking."
Summers, 32, made a spectacular read and putt on the 18th green. He still trailed Hayashi by a stroke, and needed a solid shot from about 30 feet out on the fringe to have a chance at a playoff. He softly tapped the ball wide left, and the gallery of about 50 watched it slowly curve and curve around and behind the hole to within 2 inches of the cup, drawing gasps of surprise and hearty applause.
Summers explained that the shot was a result of well-thought preparation.
"In the practice round I played on Monday I dropped a couple of balls there thinking that the pin might be kind of front right on either Saturday or Sunday," said the black-clad Summers, who has lived on Maui for four years. "So I knew it broke twice as much as you thought. It's slower than you thought it was going to be, too. So you have to go out behind the hole. It was a pretty good putt, probably the best shot of the day to be honest."
He seemed to empathize with his opponent, adding: "I feel bad about (his close losses), but he's a great champion and he'll be back again." It was Summers' first win in Hawaii. He pocketed $12,500.
Kauai's Casey Watabu, who recently competed at the Masters in Augusta, Ga., found himself in a much more comfortable setting and claimed the championship flight with a 293, three strokes off the lead.
"I just wanted to have fun and enjoy myself," Watabu said. "I've been in so much pressure, you know? It wasn't too nerve-wracking out here."