Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, June 7, 2001


Manoa Cup will
have new champ

All previous winners have been
eliminated as the state's top match-play
tourney heads to today's quarterfinals

By Paul Arnett

Joe Phengsavath figures his boss won't mind if he misses work for today's quarterfinals of the 93rd annual Manoa Cup at the Oahu Country Club. That's because the boss is four-time champion Brandan Kop, who is willing to hold down the fort for as long as it takes.

Phengsavath needed 20 holes to beat teenager Travis Toyama with a birdie on the second extra hole of the third-round match. Someone asked him if he was due back at Kop Distributors, but the outgoing Phengsavath said, "I'll tell him I needed extra holes to get the win. He'll understand."

He also had to defeat Ralph Dewitt, 3 and 2, in the rain-delayed second round yesterday before finishing off Toyama with a 20-foot birdie putt.

"And that almost wasn't enough because his birdie putt lipped out," Phengsavath said. "Let me tell you, that kid is going to be very good. I was able to come back from two down on the 16th by sinking a 25-foot putt for par. He three-putted from 20 feet to let me back in."

Phengsavath is one of eight golfers to advance to the quarterfinals. They will play 18 holes of golf today. The four who advance to the semifinals will play 36 holes tomorrow with the winners playing 36 more on Saturday to determine the champion.

Joining Phengsavath are Paul Kimura, Christopher Caycayon, Kellen-Floyd Asao, Eric Fong, Ryan Koshi, Norman-Ganin Asao and Jonathan Ota, who -- like Phengsavath and Fong -- needed bonus holes to secure the win.

Ota was the last golfer to qualify for the quarterfinals. He beat Tendo with a par on the first extra hole. Tendo, whose approach shot flew over the green, had to settle for a bogey.

Fong held off heavy hitter Tommy Kim on the first extra hole. Kim hit his drive wide right, while Fong's went up the tree-lined left side. He was able to hit a seven-iron to within 12 feet of the hole. Kim eventually picked up to allow Fong to move on. He will play Kellen-Floyd Asao of Hawaii Pacific Academy in today's round, which begins at 7 a.m.

The other three matchups are Phengsavath against Koshi, who beat Eric Molina 2 and 1, Fong vs. Norman-Ganin Asao and Kimura facing Caycayon.

Caycayon advanced after knocking off Toby Martyn (2 and 1) in the morning round and Gary Kong (2 and 1) in the afternoon.

Kimura also had to win twice yesterday. He knocked off Blaine Kimura (5 and 3) in the morning and Troy Higashiyama (2 and 1) in the afternoon to advance to the quarterfinals of the state's top match-play event.

Norman-Ganin Asao had to win twice as well, beating Christian Akau in the morning (2 up) and Don Look (5 and 4) in the afternoon. The talented University of Hawaii golfer now faces Ota, who had to win two close matches yesterday to get to the round of eight.

Norman-Ganin Asao could face his brother, Kellen-Floyd, in the finals if he is able to get by Fong today and the winner of the Kimura-Caycayon match tomorrow.

Higashiyama's upset of defending champion Randy Shibuya in the second round means no former champion will stand in the winner's circle on Saturday.

"I'm sure Brandan would love to see me get a win," Phengsavath said.

"He's done it four times, but like a lot of other guys, he got upset early. Fortunately for me, I have Brandan around to help give me some tips. He's a great golfer. Hopefully, I can make him proud over the weekend."

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