[ GOLF ]

Kellan Anderson, 19, celebrated as he thought his putt was going into the hole against Marc Rosen at the Manoa Cup yesterday. The putt didn't go in and he lost the hole, but Anderson went on to win 1 up to advance to the second round.

Manoa Cup
by youngsters

Fourteen of the final 16 golfers
are younger than 22 as the
tourney enters the third round

Golfers who survived the first two rounds of the 95th Manoa Cup at Oahu Country Club yesterday are conspiring to change the term "Sweet 16" to "Baby Faced 14."

Fourteen youngsters between the ages of 15 and 22 made it to today's third round. Eleven of those golfers are under 20 and six are under 18.

Only two golfers in their 30s will play in the round of 16, which will have an average age of 21.

The remaining field doesn't include 11-year-old Bradley Shigezawa, a Punahou School student who became the youngest player to qualify on Monday by shooting a 78. He lost to Ryan Perez 1-up in the first round.

"I wasn't really nervous," Shigezawa said. "I wanted it to feel like another day of golf. My golf coach, Casey Nakama, told me I should play and that it would be a good experience to match my game against some of the best amateurs in the state."

Shigezawa was 2-up going to the 13th hole before falling to Perez, 17, who went on to defeat Jeff Killeen 1-up in the second round.

Gary Kong watched as he missed his putt in the Manoa Cup yesterday. He lost 2 up to Grant Yasui.

Today's field also doesn't include 13-year-old Sean Maekawa, a Honokaa eighth-grader. He beat Stephen Ho 7 and 5 in the round of 64, but dropped his next match to University of Nevada golfer Casey Watabu 2 and 1.

"Oh yeah, I was really nervous," Maekawa said. "I finally got comfortable in the match against Casey. These guys playing in the tournament are good. I'm always reading about them winning tournaments in the paper."

Watabu, who eagled the 446-yard, par-5 second hole in mild Kona winds, was relieved after the win.

"That kid's a fighter," he said. "I was four-up after 10, but he won three in a row."

Defending champion and top seed Travis Toyama, a 16-year-old University High School student, is the only Manoa Cup winner still in the hunt after victories over Curtis Kono and David Hamada.

Toyama is feeling good about his game, except for pitches from within 70 yards.

"I'm hitting the driver to the position I want to be and feel solid about everything else," he said. "To win the first time was great because this is a big tournament. But if you have one off day, you're out, so I'm striving to be steady and consistent."

Tom Goodbody aced the 198-yard 11th hole, but lost his second-round match 3 and 2 to 15-year-old Waianae High student Alvin Okada.

Okada was two-up after nine and the hole-in-one took some of his momentum away.

"It went left, curved and kicked straight in," Okada said. "I was like, 'man that's close,' and then someone said, 'oh, it went in' and I said, 'oh (no).' "

Goodbody said it was his 12th lifetime hole-in-one.

State high school champion Travis Higashiyama beat Roy Nishimoto 3 and 2 in a second-round match.

"I think I'm playing similar to when I won the states (May 17)," said Higashiyama, the 18-year-old who graduated from Mid-Pacific on May 24. "I'm making birdies, saving pars, hitting fairways and staying out of trouble. There's some tough competitors left, but I've got a pretty good chance because my game is on."

Damien Memorial student Kurt Nino, 15, and University of Hawaii golfer Kellen-Floyd Asao, 19, also advanced to today's third round.

Both have previously gone further. Nino was in last year's semifinals and Asao was the runner-up two years ago.

"The player with the most stamina and who can grind and putt well will win," said Nino, who scored victories over 1996 champion Damien Victorino and Steve MacDonald. "It's a short-game issue."

Everything was clicking for the second-seeded Asao in an 8 and 7 first-round win over Andrew Kam.

"But in the second round (2 and 1 over Jeff Weinstein), I struggled off the tee and my putter was shaky, but I was able to collect myself and pull through," Asao said. "This tournament is hard on your body, especially the hills on the back nine. The champion on Saturday will be the one who brings his 'A' game for six days."

The two old-guard golfers left are Chong Delisi, 32, and Michael Withrow, 38.

Delisi knocked off four-time champion Brandan Kop 1-up in the second round.

"He would have been hard to beat today," said the 42-year-old Kop about Delisi. "I played well and lost."

The fourth-seeded Kop was 1-up before three-putting No. 16. Delisi drove the green on the 344-yard, par-4 17th and two-putted for birdie, while Kop missed his birdie attempt.

"This is a hard tournament to win, but it's an easy tournament to win if you play the right people at the right time," Kop said.

Withrow needed 19 second-round holes to oust Kamden Ganir.

Twenty-year old Hee Beom Kim defeated Joe Phengsavath, one of the state's top amateurs, 4 and 3.

"Too many three-putts," Phengsavath said. "I felt real good coming in, but someone stole my putter the day before the tournament and I haven't felt comfortable. There's always next year."

University of San Francisco golfer Kristofer Baptist (21), Brandon Abreu (17), Tyler Isono (22), Dylan Nakano (18), Burt Bonk (16) and Kellan Anderson (19) are also teeing it up today, eyeing the title. Nakano upset third-seeded Todd Rego 1-up in the second round.


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