CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Michael Fan reached the third round of the Manoa Cup, beating former semifinalist Lorens Chan.
Manoa Cup field down to 16
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Walking the course with Lorens Chan was pretty routine for Michael Fan, though their round yesterday had quite a bit more at stake than usual.
Fan rolled in two clutch putts late in his round to upset Chan - a Manoa Cup semifinalist last summer - while maintaining command of his nerves in a tight 19-hole match to advance to today's third round of the state amateur match play championship at Oahu Country Club.
"It wasn't too bad because I practice every day with Lorens," said Fan, an incoming sophomore at Kamehameha and pupil of Kevin Ralbovsky. "It's kind of like playing a normal practice round."
Yesterday's second round provided a reminder of the perilous nature of the match play format as two high seeds and a past champion exited the 100th event.
Along with the fifth-seeded Chan, fourth-seeded Samuel Rodriguez III lost to 2006 champion Jonathan Ota 6 and 5. Punahou junior Bou-An Fujieki later outlasted 2004 champion Ryan Perez 1 up. Wade Nakamura won the longest match of the day, needing 21 holes to beat Brandon Nahale.
The bracket produced a third-round matchup between top-seeded and defending champion Kurt Nino and Kellen-Floyd Asao today in a rematch of the 2003 final won by Asao. Second-seeded Alex Ching also advanced yesterday as did past champions Travis Toyama and Brandan Kop.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Close friends Alex Ching, left, and Ethan Wang left the sixth hole at Oahu Country Club together after Ching defeated Wang 5 and 4 to advance to the third round of the Manoa Cup.
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With a decorated dual-sport high school career behind him, Alex Ching has narrowed his focus this summer.
Ching won two doubles titles at the HHSAA tennis championships while playing for Punahou and added a state golf title to his collection this spring. Now that he has a college golf career awaiting, Ching's attention is devoted to the course rather than the court.
"I'm going to concentrate and try to get my game better because the college level is huge," Ching said after winning his second-round match in the Manoa Cup at Oahu Country Club.
Playing in the state amateur match-play championship represents a significant step in those plans and Ching accomplished a preliminary goal yesterday by advancing to the tournament's third round to better his last appearance in the event back in 2005.
Ching got past Ethan Wang 5 and 4 yesterday to join 15 other golfers in today's third round. The remaining players will hope for two more long days at OCC with the quarterfinals in the centennial tournament set for tomorrow morning and the semifinals to follow in the afternoon. The 36-hole championship is Saturday.
A crowded junior golf schedule kept Ching out of last year's tournament, though he used his familiarity with the OCC layout to help David Fink as a caddy in the qualifying round. He's using that course knowledge (he's been playing the Nuuanu course since he was 10) for his own benefit this time around.
"I definitely wanted to play well because this is my home course," Ching said. "When I came in I didn't have a different mind-set, I just wanted to come and play how I normally play with my family or friends."
Ching has a partial golf scholarship lined up at the University of San Diego, but he hasn't left tennis completely behind.
"Because it's match play it's a little different," Ching said. "For me it's kind of like a tennis match, it's you against an opponent."
While Ching, Fink, defending champion Kurt Nino, Brandan Kop, Jonathan Ota, Kellen-Floyd Asao, and Travis Toyama ended their matches early, the second round still produced its share of tense moments and a few upsets yesterday.
Wade Nakamura survived a 21-hole duel with Brandon Nahale and Kamehameha sophomore Michael Fan, who survived a 1-up win over Max Bonk on Tuesday, ended 14-year-old Lorens Chan's bid to break Toyama's record as youngest Manoa Cup champion with a 19-hole victory.
Fan, 15, dropped a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to tie the match and rolled in a downhill 8-footer for par on the 18th to send the match to extra holes. Back on No. 1, Fan put the pressure on Chan by sticking a wedge to within 11 feet. Fan's birdie putt slid just by the hole. But so did Chan's par attempt and he took off his cap to concede the hole and the match after tapping in his bogey.
Punahou's Bou-An Fujieki ended the day by knocking off 2004 champion Ryan Perez 1 up, protecting the lead over the final three holes. He matched Perez's birdie on No. 17 and a par on No. 18 was enough to close out the match.
"I just played steady and solid," the incoming Buffanblu junior said. "It was tough. I was just able to hold on."
Fujieki was to face Kop today in a rematch of a first-round match last year. Kop, a four-time champion, won that meeting 2 and 1.
"I know more what to expect," Fujieki said. "I kind of went in (last year) thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I'm playing Brandan Kop.' But I have more confidence in myself and more confidence in my game."