Ching, Punahou win state golf titles

Punahou School won the girls state golf title, both girls and boys tennis teams state titles on the Big Island, a boys judo team state crown with Pearl City High School, girls water polo and Division I boys baseball titles, all last week.

That’s six state titles in one week. Some schools don’t even have that many it their whole entire history of existence.

But as of yesterday, Punahou added another team and individual state title to that list as senior Alex Ching won the boys individual state title in the David Ishii Foundation/Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Boys State Golf Championships at the Wailua Golf Course.

The team finished first with a two-day total of 294-295 for 589 — 33 shots better than second-place finishers from Baldwin High School. This is the Buffanblu’s sixth overall boys title.

Afterward, Ching said it wasn’t exactly an easy victory. Ching shot a 1-under 72 in the first round and finished at 2-over 74 for a two-day total of 145. No golfers turned in a score under par yesterday.

Ching finished three shots ahead of second-place finisher and Punahou teammate John David Nako (74-74 — 148).

Dealing with the Kona winds, Ching said the feel of the course yesterday was different.

“The winds were coming from the opposite direction, so my coaches just told me to think a lot before taking a shot,” Ching said. “You couldn’t just take your shot because of the wind. You really had to think about it.”

Ching started off with two pars and then a bogey and made straight pars to make the turn at even. On the par-4 18th, Ching hit his drive into the rough, just missing the fairway by approximately three feet. He hit the green with his approach but landed well above the pin nearly 15 feet away. He two-putted to save par.

On that same hole, in the previous group, T.J. Kua also saved par with a two-putt. The two-time state runner-up from Kamehameha Schools Kapalama curved his drive around the corner to the fairway. His second shot just hit about a foot and a half to the left of the pin and bounced two more.

In what should have been an easy birdie putt for Kua, he caught the lip and had to two-putt for par.

“I watched Brad’s putt and saw which way it went, so I tried to play it that way, but it went the other way,” he said.

It was not a particularly satisfying day for Kua. Playing in his final state championships, Kua said earlier in the week that he wanted to finish with a bang. But having started the final round with a triple bogey on his first hole and made the turn at 7 over. Kua dropped to a ninth-place finish.

“The front nine was a blizzard,” he said. “My drive was all over the place again. I probably just got lazy.”

Justin Keiley, the Baldwin sophomore who was tied for the lead heading into the final round, also dropped in his place standings. Keiley finished with 71-77 for a total 148 to place third.

Be didn’t turn in any birdies — finishing with five bogey and 13 pars — and blamed it on his putting.

“I wasn’t making any of my putts,” he said. “I made four pars in a row but then made bogey on the seven, nine and 14. I shot two sixes, on the one and nine and those are holes I should’ve made.”

With the win, Ching, this year’s Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion, became the third Buffanblu in school history to win an individual boys state golf title. Parker McLachlin, who is currently on the PGA Tour, was the first in 1996. Jim Seki was the second in 1998.


David Ishii Foundation/HHSAA Boys State Golf Championships

May 14, Wailua Golf Course

Team Leaderboard

1. Punahou 71-73-74-76 — 294 72-74-74-75 — 295 — 589

2. Baldwin 71-75-83-83 — 312 75-76-77-82 — 310 — 622

3. ‘Iolani 75-77-77-80 — 309 77-77-84-87— 325 — 634

4. Kamehameha Schools Kapalama 71-74-81-85 — 311 77-80-83-84 — 324 — 635

5. Kaua‘i 73-75-79-85 — 312-76-77-84-86 323 — 635

6. Waiakea 72-79-80-90 — 321 77-78-79-80 — 314 — 635

7. St. Anthony 75-76-83-84 — 318 76-76-83-87 — 322 — 640

8. Hawai‘i Baptist 75-75-81-84 — 315 79-83-84-87 — 333 — 648

9. Moanalua 75-80-81-85 — 321 78-83-87-88 — 336 — 657

10. Maryknoll 76-84-88-89 — 337 80-83-83-86 — 332 — 669

11. Mililani 74-83-89-90 — 336-83-89-93-96 — 361 — 697

12. Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i 77-83-94-99 — 353 80-85-94-96-355 — 708

Individual Leaderboard

1. Alex Ching (Punahou) 34-37 — 71-38-36 — 74 — 145

2. John David Nako (Punahou) 39-35 — 74-40-34 — 74 — 148

3. Justin Keiley (Baldwin) 35-36 — 71-40-37 — 77 — 148

4. B. Shigezawa (Punahou) 36-37 — 73-38-37 — 75 — 148

5. Andrea Topping (Kapolei) 36-39 — 75-37-37 — 74 — 149

6. Matt Kitamori (Waiakea) 35-37— 72-38-39 — 77 — 149

7. Levi Miyashiro (Kauai) 35-38 — 73-37-39 — 76 — 149

8. JonKeiley (Baldwin) 39-36 — 75-36-39 — 75 — 150

9. T.J. Kua (KS Kapalama) 38-36 — 74-43-34—77 — 151

10. T. Kim (St. Anthony) 37-38 — 75-40-36 — 76 — 151

11. C. Knedler (Punahou) 42-38 — 80-37-35-72 — 152

12. David Fink (‘Iolani) 37-38 — 75-38-39-77 — 152

13. David Saka (Moanalua) 38-37 — 75-41-37-78 — 153

14. Robb Inouye (‘Iolani) 38-39 — 77-40-37 — 77 — 154

15. Ken Takushi (Maui) 37-40 — 77-39-38 — 77 — 154

• HHSAA golf notes:

• Punahou has now won its sixth boys state golf team championship in school history. The Buffanblu won their first in 1970.

• Waiakea is the only school to have won four boys team titles in a row. Waiakea has 11 total.

• Host school Kaua‘i High School has four boys team state titles.

• Punahou’s Alex Ching is only the third in school history to win an individual boys state title. The first was Parker McLachlin who is currently on the PGA Tour.

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