Maekawa to join Watabu at Public Links

Kapa‘a’s Kellen Watabu will be joined by Sean Maekawa of Pa‘auilo at the national championship of the United States Amateur Public Links tournament July 14 to 19 at the Murphy Creek Course in Aurora, Colo.

Champions of the Public Links are invited to play in the Masters Tournament at Augusta National in Augusta, Ga.

O‘ahu and Maui will be conducting their sectional qualifiers next week.

Watabu was the first qualifier to the USAPL when he bested veteran amateur golfer Jonathan Ota by just one stroke at the Wailua Golf Course last week.

Maekawa, a freshman at the University of Oregon, shot even par with rounds of 70-72 (142), Saturday to beat Pono Calip, a Kamehameha School-Big Island campus student, by six strokes.

Calip finished with rounds of 75-73 (148) and takes the first alternate position after making birdie on the first playoff hole to beat Waiakea High School’s Matt Kitamori who finished the tournament with rounds of 74-74 (148).

Four players tied for fourth place with totals of 150. These included Chris Igasa (76-74), Ward Gardner (76-74), Daryl Yagi (76-74) and Reid Shikuma (73-77).

The Public Links is one of the 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

The Public Links is open to any bona fide public course player with USGA handicap index of 4.4 or lower. The Public Links has given exposure to many players who otherwise might not have an opportunity to compete in a national championship.

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