Cup business for MacNaughton


POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A business commitment wouldn't allow E.J. MacNaughton to make it out of last year's Manoa Cup qualifying round. So he made sure he cleared his schedule for this week's tournament.

Good thing, too.

MacNaughton shot a 78 on Monday to squeeze into the 64-player match-play bracket for the first time. He then upset reigning state high school champion Lorens Chan yesterday to give himself another tour of Oahu Country Club today.

“;I just came in with nothing to lose, my caddy (Tracy Wong) kept me really calm, and just went out and played,”; said MacNaughton, who faces Bradley Yosaitis this morning in a second-round match.

MacNaughton entered the tournament last summer, but had to withdraw 15 holes into the qualifying round to scramble to a business meeting.

The 39-year-old, who works in commercial real estate finance, took another shot this year and made his debut in the bracket as the 58th seed and opposite the seventh-seeded Chan, already a veteran of Manoa Cup competition at 15.

MacNaughton took the lead on the second hole of the match and never trailed, closing out a 2 and 1 victory with a par putt on the eighth hole.

Both MacNaughton and Chan are members at Waialae Country Club and had become acquaintances on the practice range. But they hadn't played together before teeing it up on No. 10 yesterday.

Chan struggled to control his driver and was 3 down with seven holes to play. He closed to 1 down going into No. 5, but MacNaughton rolled in a birdie putt and won the next hole to stretch his lead back to three with three to play.

“;Today everything was off,”; said Chan, who led 'Iolani to the state title last month. “;Overall not the greatest day.”;

Chan extended the match with a birdie on the par-3 seventh. He then hit his drive on No. 8 into a creek cutting across the fairway, but put his approach to within 8 feet and dropped a downhill putt to save par and keep the pressure on MacNaughton.

But MacNaughton was able to sink his par to halve the hole and end the match.

“;The longest 6-footer I've ever had to make,”; MacNaughton said.

The first round of the state amateur match-play championship saw three past champions advance and two others make early exits, including four-time champion Brandan Kop who lost to Campbell's Rudy Cabalar 2 and 1.

Defending champion and top seed Alex Ching, fighting through a cold, defeated Ron Yogi 7 and 6.

Ching returned to his home course at OCC after finishing 13th at the NCAA championship and earning honorable mention All-America honors to cap his freshman year at San Diego. He had four birdies in a steady round to set up a 7 a.m. match with Craig Watanabe today.

“;I grew up here and it's just good to be home,”; Ching said of the hilly Nuuanu layout. “;The greens are fast and quick like they normally are. They're not breaking as much as they normally do, but they're still quick. I'm still shaking on those downhill putts.”;

Kurt Nino, the 2007 champion, advanced with a 6 and 4 win over Kevin McBride and plays Punahou's Bou-An Fujieki in the second round.

In matchup of former champions, Ryan Perez (2004) defeated Kellen-Floyd Asao (2003) 4 and 2.

Christian Akau, the medalist in Monday's qualifier and second seed, also advanced with a 5 and 3 win over Jefferson Yee.

On the bag

Travis Toyama, a two-time champion, turned professional in January and is caddying for T.J. Kua this week. Kua defeated Mitchell Kwee 4 and 3. Tadd Fujikawa was also on the course yesterday, caddying for Scotty Hayashi, a 3 and 1 winner over Blaine Kimura.



Alex Ching is trying to become the first golfer to repeat as Manoa Cup champion since Brandan Kop in 1998. Longest winning streaks in the event:

4Francis Brown1920-'23
4George Angus1909-'12
3Francis Brown1930-'32
2Brandan Kop1997-'98
2Ken Miyaoka1971-'72
2George Nahale1955-'56
2Charles Makaiwa1951-'52
2James Ukauka1946-'47
2Charles Chung1924-'25
2J.I.B. Greig1917-'18
2Austin White1907-'08

Source: 808golf.com


Tomorrow's matchups involving top seeds in the Manoa Cup:

» No. 1 Alex Ching vs. Craig Watanabe
» No. 2 Christian Akau vs. Christopher Armanini
» No. 3 David Saka vs. Brian Lee
» No. 4 Jared Sawada vs. Robert Szymaszek
» No. 5 Alika Bell vs. Skye Inakoshi
» No. 6 Ryan Perez vs. Donny Hopoi
» No. 8 Chris Byrer vs. Marc Rosen
» No. 9 Scotty Hayashi vs. Scott Ichimura
» No. 10 T.J. Kua vs. Logan Goulding
Source: 808golf.com