Side Lines for Friday — November 25, 2005

Wie five strokes down versus men in Japan


KOCHI, Japan — Nervous at the start but encouraged by a couple of late birdies, Michelle Wie was five strokes off the lead in a men’s tournament Thursday, and optimistic about making the cut.

The 16-year-old Honolulu resident was followed by members of huge galleries during her opening round of 1-over 73 at the Casio World Open on the Japanese tour.

She had an uneven beginning with three bogeys on the Kochi Kuroshio Country Club course. Wie, who teed off from the 10th hole, regrouped with birdies on the sixth and seventh holes.

“Coming back like that will give me confidence for tomorrow,” she said. “It’s good to know I can do that even when I’m not playing that well.”

Two Japanese players, Toshimitsu Izawa and Yoshiaki Kimura, shared the lead at 68.

Wie, only the second woman to play in a Japanese men’s event, clearly was the big draw. Defending champion David Smail, by contrast, was followed by only a handful of spectators.

The $1.7-million tournament, the next-to-last event on the Japanese men’s tour, is Wie’s first since she was disqualified last month in her pro debut.

Wie is making her sixth start in a men’s professional tournament. She failed to make the cut in three PGA Tour starts, a Nationwide Tour event and a Canadian Tour event. This is her first tournament in Japan.

“I wanted to be a little higher,” she said. “But considering how I struggled in the middle I’m pretty happy with the round I had. Hopefully, I can come back tomorrow and play a better round.”

Rain cancels hoops

By The Garden Island

Rain forced the cancellation of Monday night’s basketball games in the county’s 14 and under girls’ basketball league.

Due to the Thanksgiving Day weekend, the next appearance by the aspiring youngsters will be on Monday, Dec. 28, at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

Earlier, Kira Taylan notched eight points to lead Team Swish to a 32-3 win over Island School in games played on Saturday at Kaua’i High School. Sera Pascual finished with a gamehigh 11 points to lead Kaulupono Girls to a 28-16 showing over Wailua. Jodi Das led Wailua with six points.

Hilo’s Muramoto nails an ace

Hilo’s Lena Muramoto utilized a Callaway 3-wood for a hole in one at Puakea Golf Course’s 120-yard fourth hole.


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