Sports Watch

Bill Kwon

By Bill Kwon

Friday, March 26, 1999

Hawaii golf Hall of Fame
adding three members

D AVID "Bones" Bettencourt, Tura Kahaleanu Nagatoshi and the late Walter Nagorski have been named the 1999 inductees into the Hawaii State Golf Hall of Fame.

The trio will be honored at the induction ceremony April 27 at 11:30 a.m. at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki.

They join 43 others who have contributed greatly to the game of golf in Hawaii.

Bettencourt represented Hawaii five times in the USGA Public Links Championships, the first time in 1961 in Detroit, where he was the tournament's medalist with a 36-hole qualifying score of 137.

Another "five" he still remembers is the five times that he survived all the way to the finals of the Manoa Cup, the prestigious state amateur match-play championship at the Oahu Country Club.

"I finally learned how to play match play," said Bettencourt, who beat Jack Omuro in 1959. Omuro, another Hall of Famer, defeated Bettencourt in the final the following year.

In 1958, Bettencourt lost in the 36-hole final to Gerald Goring despite shooting a 65 in the morning round.

Bettencourt got his nickname, "Bones," because of his 5-foot-11, 135-pound frame during his playing days. "I was really skin and bones," said Bettencourt, who is now 80 years old. "I still can shoot my age," he says.

Bettencourt still plays at the Ala Wai Golf Course, where he first learned the game when it was a five-hole layout in 1930. Although left-handed, he plays right-handed. "They didn't have left-handed clubs in those days," he said.

Bettencourt also won the 1962 Kauai Open and the Maui and Hilo opens in 1963. He was the low amateur in the 1966 Hawaiian Open, before it became a PGA Tour event.

N AGATOSHI was among the leading women golfers in the 1960s and 1970s. She still holds the Jennie K. Wilson Invitational record for the biggest margin of victory -- a 21-stroke triumph in 1970.

She won the Jennie K. three times -- the first as a teen-ager in 1956, again in 1968 and the third time in 1970, when she shot a final-round 70 that included a hole-in-one and an eagle for a 54-hole score of 217, which tied the record at that time, set by Jackie Yates in 1954.

Nagatoshi won the Hawaii Women's Amateur in 1956, the Moanalua Women's Invitational in 1954, 1955, 1965 and 1970 and the Kaneohe Women's Invitational in 1965, 1968 and 1975. Also,she captured the Navy-Marine Women's Invitational in 1971 and '72.

Nagatoshi was the University of Hawaii women's golf coach in the 1970s and is now superintendent at the Ted Makalena Golf Course.

"It's very special for me, because Ted and I grew up playing golf together," said Nagatoshi.

Nagorski, a Michigan native, came to Hawaii because of the U.S. Army and remained, becoming head pro at the nine-hole Ft. Shafter Golf Course, which was renamed in his honor in 1987, a year after his death from cancer.

He was instrumental in helping local golf professionals attain PGA membership before Hawaii established its own PGA section. Nagorski helped the late Guinea Kop, a Chinese-American, break the PGA's racial barrier.

Perhaps his greatest contribution locally was starting a junior golf program in 1947, calling it the "Ice Cream & Soda Pop" tournament.

He later became superintendent of the other two Army courses -- Leilehua and Kalakaua.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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