U.S. Open sectional to be held at Po’ipu

Twenty-five men came out last year to compete for two spots at the sectional qualifier for the 2005 U.S. Open and when the sand gave way, Jonathan Ota and Mike Castillo rose to the top.

Ota, who hails from Lihu’e, shot a 1-under-par 71 at the Po’ipu Bay Golf Course, followed by Castillo’s 1-over-par 73.

Ota and Castillo competed in the sectional tournament, which was held on Maui at the Ka’anapali North Course.

But this year is different and Kaua’i golfers will get to play the sectional qualifier in their own back yard at the Po’ipu Bay Golf Course.

“Kaua’i’s golfers have a good chance to qualify and advance directly inside the ropes at Winged Foot in June,” tournament official Sam Pratt said.

Other top finishers in last year’s event at the local qualifier included Kellen Watabu (74), Casey Watabu (75), Cory French (75), and Sean Ogawa (75).

University of Hawai’i golfer Pierre Henri Sorero earned Hawai’i’s lone spot at the 2005 U.S. Open Championship and according to Pratt, he’s signed up once again this year.

“I don’t blame him. I mean he got to play in the U.S. Open,” Pratt said.

Ota shot a 11-over-par 155 in the 36-hole sectional qualifier to finish eight strokes back of Sorero.

In the meantime, Castillo shot a 22-over-par 166.

“It was super windy. The golf course was really tough. It was brutal. A tough course with tough conditions made it really tough,” Pratt said.

The 2006 men’s U.S. Open local qualifier for Kaua’i is at the Po’ipu Bay Golf Course on May 19.

Meanwhile, the sectional qualifier will also be held at the Po’ipu Bay Golf Course on June 5.

The entry deadline is 11 a.m. on April 26.

Your handicap index must not exceed 1.4.

For an application or more information, visit www.usga.org, or contact Mary Bea Porter-King at marybea@aloha.net or Sam Pratt at sam@samuelwpratt.com.

The U.S. Open Championship is scheduled for June 15-18 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

The 2006 women’s U.S. Open local qualifier is on O’ahu at the Ko Olina Resort Golf Course on May 18.

The sectional qualifier is also at the Ko Olina Resort on June 13.

Entry deadline is 11 a.m. on May 3.

Your handicap index must not exceed 4.4.

Visit www.usga.org, or contact Mary Bea at marybea@aloha.net for more information.

The women’s U.S. Open Championship happens June 29-July 2 at Newport Country Club in Newport, R.I.

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