CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Edward Stenftenagel, center, lost his ball in the water on the fourth hole yesterday, but won his Manoa Cup match against two-time champion Travis Toyama. CLICK FOR LARGE
Toyama taken down
Edward Stenftenagel knocks off 2-time Manoa Cup champion Travis Toyama
STORY SUMMARY »
Coming from Southern California, Edward Stenftenagel was impressed with the sweeping views of Honolulu from Oahu Country Club's back nine.
But the greens remain his favorite feature of the course.
Stenftenagel's mastery of OCC's neatly manicured greens helped him advance through the first two rounds of the Manoa Cup, defeating two-time champ Travis Toyama yesterday.
Those surviving today's third round in the state amateur match-play championship advance to tomorrow's quarterfinal round starting at 7 a.m., with the semifinals to follow.
The finalists return for a 36-hole title match on Saturday to determine the winner of the 99th annual tournament.
Defending champion Jonathan Ota survived some anxious holes yesterday to squeeze past Patrick Silva. Four-time winner Brandan Kop and 2004 champion Ryan Perez also won their second-round matches to set up a matchup this morning.
Ota was down three holes on the front nine against Silva and rallied to square the match going to the 13th. He opened a 2-up lead which was trimmed to one when Silva birdied the 16th. Ota then held on with clutch par putts on 17 and 18.
"All kinds of stuff happen out there," Ota said. "When the pressure starts building, anything can happen."
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On another day, against another opponent, Travis Toyama might have had a decent shot at advancing in the Manoa Cup bracket.
But not yesterday, and not against Edward Stenftenagel.
Toyama, a two-time Manoa Cup champion, put together a solid second-round performance, but still lost 4 and 3 to the second-seeded player in the state amateur match-play championship.
Under stroke-play scoring, Stenftenagel would have been 5 under after five holes, firing out of the gate with three birdies and an eagle. Then at the end, Toyama could only shrug and smile as Stenftenagel poured in a tricky 35-foot putt for birdie on No. 13 and another 40-footer on the 14th.
"It's kind of hard when you're under par and you're losing your match ... by a lot," Toyama said.
Not that Stenftenagel's performance simply came out of nowhere. It just built on the bogey-free 67 he shot in Monday's qualifying round and his seven-birdie outing in a 15-hole first-round victory on Tuesday.
He was to face Shane Adversalo in one of this morning's 16 third-round matches at Oahu Country Club. Today's winners advance to the quarterfinals tomorrow, which will be followed by the semifinal round. The 36-hole championship match starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
Despite intermittent rain showers blowing out of Nuuanu Valley, Stenftenagel got off to a hot start yesterday, and when Toyama thought he might cut into the lead with a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 5, Stenftenagel answered with a 10-footer of his own.
He hit a rough stretch in the middle of the round to give Toyama a window for a comeback. But he held on to the lead and slammed the door with the back-to-back bombs on Nos. 13 and 14.
"He played very well, I think he only had one bogey and that's tough to beat," said Stenftenagel. "I'm just lucky I played well."
The putt on the par-5 13th was particularly impressive. After hooking his second shot onto a hillside, his chip left him with a slick downhill putt that could have easily run off the front of the green.
"I three-putted that hole in the qualifying round from about 20 feet," he said. "I knew going straight down the hill it was going to be very fast. I was just glad it hit the hole. It was a great putt, great line, but it could have possibly gone in the bunker if it hadn't hit the hole.
"Lately my short game has by far been the great asset for me, because my ball striking over the last six months hasn't been the best. I've worked really hard over the last couple weeks to get the ball striking back down."
Stenftenagel lives in Indian Wells, Calif., and will attend USC this fall. If he continues his hot play through Saturday, it'll make for a hectic day as he's scheduled to fly to New York that night for a qualifying tournament for the Porter Cup.
"He's got a good shot because he's playing well, he's putting well and that's big out here," said Toyama, who is entering his senior season at Hawaii in the fall. "If you're putting well that can make a lot of difference."
Kapaa's Kellen Watabu has been staying with Reyn Tanaka's family in Kailua this week, but wasn't worried about having to find somewhere else to stay after knocking his host out of the tournament yesterday.
Watabu, a sophomore at Nevada, topped Tanaka 4 and 3 to advance to face David Fink this morning.
"It was relaxed, more relaxed than playing someone else," Watabu said. "I'd rather play my friend. Of course I still want to win."
The duo was also in the same foursome in Monday's qualifying round.
"It's always a friendly match. It was a lot of fun," said Tanaka, a Gonzaga senior.
David Saka survived a playoff on Monday just to get into the 64-player match-play field. Two days later, he was still alive in the tournament as the 59th seed after beating No. 6 Yusuke Aonuma on Monday and Kamehameha's Alika Bell 1 up yesterday.
"I just wanted to get experience trying to play against the better guys because this is a pretty big amateur tournament," Saka said after advancing to face No. 11 Max Bonk.
Saka, like several of the other young golfers in the field, is a pupil of Kevin Ralbovsky at Koolau Golf Club and credited his teacher for helping him improve his ball striking lately.