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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Friday, April 14, 2000



Boy playing among
men at Mid-Pac

NORMALLY, a golfer wouldn't get his name in the newspaper -- let alone on the agate page -- in a golf tournament if he shot a 23-over-par 95 as David Hahn did yesterday in the Mid-Pacific Open.

Info BoxBut Hahn isn't a normal golfer, who just happened to have a bad day.

He's 11 years old and usually plays to a 3-handicap. Besides, it was his first tournament and, as he put it, "I was a little nervous."

Not intimidated, mind you, because his drives average 240 yards. Just nervous.

Talk about starting right at the top in an open tournament which features the best professional and amateur golfers.

As far as anyone at the host Mid-Pacific Country Club can recall, there has never been a younger player in the previous 36 years of the tournament at the challenging Lanikai course.

Eleven years old. You've got to be kidding, right?

"He has a lot of potential," said Hapuna's director of golf, Ron Castillo Jr., who has been Hahn's swing coach and mentor for the past four months.

"I've seen him shoot even par at Hapuna and Hualalai," Castillo said.

David, born on Oahu to South Korean natives Frank and Lisa Hahn, admits he first picked up a club at the age of 8. But he quit because "I thought it was boring."

Tae kwon do practice was more interesting, he said.

Then Hahn went to a Nike golf camp at Hapuna, met Castillo, and fell in love with the game.

His father, a member at the Waialae Country Club, is so delighted that his son is enamored of golf, that he rented two suites at the Hapuna Beach Hotel so that young David could work with Castillo every day.

In four months, Hahn reduced his handicap from a 20, to a single digit and now to a 3.

"Even though he's a 3, I entered him in A-flight (not championship) because I wanted him to have some experience," Castillo said.

He's trying to get Hahn, who is being home-schooled by his parents, into some junior golf tournaments.

Once Hahn develops patience and discipline, he's going to bear watching in local golf, according to Castillo.

Reasonable enough. After all, he's still a kid.



Seven Hawaii golfers will leave at the end of the month to try and qualify for the Canadian PGA Tour. The five-day qualifying will be held May 8-12 in Kamloops, B.C.

The seven -- Neil Simms, Beau Yokomoto, Jay Shannon, Regan Lee, Dean Dorothy, Ivan Cunningham and Jeff Ferry -- are playing in the Mid-Pac Open.

Lee, who won the Hawaii State Amateur last year, recently turned professional, playing in the Aloha Section PGA Pro-Pro Championship. The Mid-Pac Open is his first start in a major event.



The Hawaii Junior Golf Association has scheduled the following qualifying rounds for the Junior World Championships in San Diego, July 18-21:

Big Island -- June 10, Sea Mountain, and a second site to be announced later. Oahu -- June 13, Bay View; June 14, Kalakaua; June 15, Olomana. Kauai -- June 13, Wailua; June 14, Poipu Bay Resort. Maui -- June 15-16, Waiehu.

Also, the second Callaway Championship is scheduled for July 11-13 at a site to be named.

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

E-mail to Sports Editor

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