WHAT is it about Maui? The water? The climate? Whatever it is, Maui no ka oi. If it weren't for 49-year-old Rose Pagan of Kahului, the average age of the Hawaii women in the U.S. Public Links Amateur Championship would be 12.6 years.
Public links qualifiers
on young side
And wouldn't you know it? The average age of the Hawaii men in their publinx championship would be twenty-something if it weren't for two qualifiers from Maui - Jay Kurisu, 40, and 42-year-old Raymond Tendo.
All Tendo knows is that, the three Maui qualifiers last year are younger than his three kids.
Kurisu shot a 64 and Tendo a 65 in the first 18 holes in the Maui qualifying at the Waiehu Golf Course last week.
"I think that kind of shook them up," said Tendo, a starter at Waiehu. Kurisu finished with a 36-hole score of 136, Tendo 139.
As far as the two Maui qualifiers are concerned, the rest of the Hawaii golfers who made it to the national publinx championship next month in Oregon are mere babes.
Representing Kauai will be Casey Watabu, while Oahu's lone qualifier is Justin Kim, who just ended his freshman year on the University of Hawaii golf team. The two Big Island qualifiers are Cory Young and Chris Igawa.
For Tendo, a Manoa Cup quarterfinalist four years ago when he lost to eventual champion Mike Pavao, making it to the national publinx is a dream come true.
He didn't pick up his first golf club until 12 years ago. Pool had been his game. He grew up with a cue stick in his hands.
"I only used to shoot pool," said Tendo, "until the pool hall in Wailuku burned down."
Although he's a Baldwin graduate, Tendo spent most of his high school years at St. Anthony.
"Maybe shooting pool had a lot to do with it," he said, in explaining why he got his high school diploma from Baldwin instead of St. Anthony.
"I love golf. Look, I'm even working here," he said, referring to his starter's job at Waiehu.
Even his wife, Ivy, took up golf just several days ago.
TIGER SIMPLY GRAND:With his runaway victory in the U.S. Open, Tiger Woods will be back in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at the Poipu Bay Resort on Kauai for the fourth straight year.
He joins Masters champion Vijay Singh in the Nov. 21-22 event featuring the winners of golf's four major championships.
"It's great," said Michael Castillo, Poipu Bay's director of golf, realizing that having Tiger makes the tournament. Any tournament.
Castillo took in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and played with some USGA officials the Monday after the event was over. He shot a 76 and came away with a lot of appreciation of Tiger's under-par rounds.
"Everything he does is just brilliant. He made a lot of players look silly out there, " Castillo said.
Castillo's dream scenario at the Grand Slam would have Ernie Els and David Duval joining Woods and Singh. Phil Mickelson would also fit nicely.
Castillo, though, likes Woods' chances of winning the British Open.
There's still the PGA Championship. But if Tiger wins a second major, the No.1 alternate right now, based on performances in the Masters and U.S. Open, would be Els.