10 May Punahou Sweeps HHSAA 2013 David S. Ishii Foundation Boys Golf Championship
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Punahou Sweeps HHSAA 2013 David S. Ishii Foundation Boys Golf Championship with Individual and Team Trophies at Kaanapali Golf Courses
Lahaina, Maui, HI – Senior Kalena Preus secured the Individual trophy and helped his Punahou Team take home the Team win in the HHSAA 2013 David S. Ishii Foundation Boys Golf Championship at Kaanapali Golf Courses firing a 67 (-4) yesterday in the second and final round of the tournament (69-67-136). The top 96 high school golfers from across the state competed this week on the Royal Kaanapali Course, a par 71 course that has tested the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Price, Fred Couples and Jan Stephenson.
Going into the second round, Junior PJ Samiere had the lead by three over defending champion, John Oda of Moanalua and Samiere was four strokes ahead of teammate Kalena Preus. With the trade winds approaching and Trent Jones Senior’s undulating greens, it was still anybody’s game with 18 holes to play. Preus started out of the gate with a birdie on the first hole and remained steady through the 12th hole with two more birdies and two bogeys.
Punahou’s Golf Program Director and Kaanapali’s General Manager said to Preus, “What are you waiting for?” knowing that Preus had it in him to turn it on and take his game to the next level and he was running out of holes to do just that. As he approached the tee box for the drivable par 4 #14 hole (playing 280 yards), Kalena asked Kageyama for some advise, “Should I go for the green?” Kageyama replied that most kids had not been playing that hole well today and although it was playing shorter, many were taking a bogey “Lay it up a bit and let the ball run up there to the green,” he stated. Preus at the time said he thought “Is this guy crazy or what, I feel like I should go for it – but I trust the guy, he’s a smart guy and a great coach and so I trusted him.”
Preus hit his tee shot and it rolled up to just before the green onto the fringe, leaving himself about a 10 foot right to left putt for eagle. “I felt like I was able to read the green well and see the line and I knew that if I got it on the right track, I’d have a chance to sink it for an eagle,” Preus commented. And he did just that. At this point, Preus was now several strokes ahead of teammate Samiere and Oda, whom had been trading places for the lead all day.
Preus would put the exclamation point on his win with a final birdie on the second hardest hole on the course, the final 18th hole and shout out in excitement over his last performance of his high school career. “I didn’t even know at that point that I’d had the lead – actually I didn’t even know I’d won until about 30 minutes after I came off the course,” Preus said. He added, “My goal for this tournament was really to play hole by hole which is hard when you’re playing as a team, against other teams – a lot of times you can get caught up in what your competitors are doing and react to their game to play against them but I was really focused on playing my game one shot at a time – I feel like my whole team did a good job of that this week.”
As for the Team Championship Title, Preus commented, “That was what I really wanted this week – the individual trophy is great, but I think I’m more excited about the team win.” He added, “We challenge each other and it helps us all to be better players.” Preus will play next fall at the University of Texas in Austin.
Defending Champion, John Oda shot one over in the final round (72) and came in second place (68-72-140). Oda stated about the tournament, “The course is great – it was awesome actually – coming into the week, I think a lot of people had expectations about me defending my title but I carried on with business and wanted to let go of the past and just really perform well this week.” He continued, “The course fits my game perfectly, tee to green – the greens are tough and the elevation changes make some holes tricky, but that’s what makes it fun.” Oda is a junior this year and will have one more shot with his team for another title in 2014.
PJ Samiere shot 76 (+5) to take third place (65-76-141) and was one of only three players to shoot sub-par for the two-day tournament. Samiere struggled a bit on Wednesday and started off bogey-bogey on the first two holes. “Going into today’s round, I wanted to take one shot at a time, get some good shots in there but not too aggressive and not too conservative,” Samiere stated. Samiere double bogeyed the 7th hole and “I lost my momentum for the day – I could have come back after that but I just couldn’t get it going again.” Prior winner of the Kaanapali HSJGA Match Play Championship, Samiere commented on the course, “The course is nice, it played really well this week – the greens were just about perfect and with the calm winds there were chances for us to score.” This is his third straight year in qualifying for the state high school tournament.
As for the Boys Team Championship title, it was Punahou that would win with a two-day sub-par total of 561 (4 players scored each day), winning by 19 strokes over defending team champions, Moanalua (580) and third place went to Kamehameha (616). The Punahou Boys & Girls teams won the 2013 Championship, with one player also taking first in the individual titles as well. Program Director Kageyama commented, “It’s amazing to see what these kids are capable of and I really enjoy working with them as a team and seeing them grow.” With some great young talent at Punahou, the next few years of HHSAA Championships will be filled be filled with a lot of their players for sure.
At the awards ceremony, tournament sponsor and Hawaii golf legend, David Ishii spoke, “Every four years, Kaanapali puts on a true show for all of us, all of you, and I want to give them all a big Mahalo for making this event so memorable and a success for the kids.” Ishii added, “Congratulations to all of you for qualifying for the state tournament at Kaanapali, who hosts one of the best events on the island – you were all treated this week like champions and I hope that you will remember this day in your golfing career.”
HISTORY OF THE DAVID S. ISHII FOUNDATION:
In 1996, after 40 years of state Department of Education sponsorship, the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) became a private, non-profit corporation. State money, the bulk of the association’s funding up to that point, was cut to zero. Private sponsors were needed to underwrite the cost of staging both the boys and girls state golf championships.
This potentially dire situation did not escape the notice of Hawaii Hall of Fame golfer David S. Ishii. David – himself the 1973 state champion from Kauai High School – stepped up and committed his own funds to serve as the title sponsor of the event in 1997 and continued to personally sponsor the event for several more years.
Encouraged by his wife Lorraine and assisted by his many friends, David laid the groundwork to establish a foundation that would ensure support for the HHSAA tournament in perpetuity. Beyond that, he envisioned a foundation that could also offer college scholarships, sponsor clinics, and provide learning opportunities for Hawaii’s youth using golf as a means of imparting important life lessons.
The David S. Ishii Foundation was officially founded in 1999 and has more than fulfilled the vision that its founder held for it. Today, the Foundation sponsors the annual HHSAA State Golf Championships for both boys and girls, awards two $4,000 college scholarships to graduating seniors each year, offers travel stipends to the Boys U.S. Junior Amateur and presents workshops and clinics.
For more information about the foundation, visit www.davidsishiifoundation.org
ABOUT KAANAPALI GOLF COURSES:
The Royal Kaanapali Course, a Robert Trent Jones Senior design, opened in 1962 and has tested the skills of golf professionals and amateurs alike. A Par 71 stretching 6700 yards, the Royal Course combines wide fairways and undulating greens, making it both distinctive and demanding. Home of the Champions Tour Kaanapali Classic for 14 years, the Royal Kaanapali Course also hosted Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, the Canada Cup and LPGA Kemper Open, donning such golfing greats as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Jan Stephenson and Betsey King.
The Kaanapali Kai Course is a Par 70, 6,400-yard course and boasts an array of strategically placed bunkers, contoured fairways, and re-shaped and resurfaced greens. This course, host of Golf Channel’s #1 series Big Break Kaanapali, is a challenge to play and places a premium on strategy off the tee, accuracy with approach shots, and a deft touch around the greens.
In 2005-2007, Kaanapali Golf Courses invested over $13 million in renovations and infrastructure. Golf course architect, Robin Nelson, was brought in to oversee the rework of the Kaanapali Kai Course and enhancements to the championship Royal Kaanapali Course. Kaanapali recently celebrated 50 years (1962-2012) and was host of the Champions Tour SKIN GAME January 2008-2011.