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Ota, Ching to play in 100th final

By the afternoon semifinal round, Kaua‘i’s Jonathan Ota was the last past champion left in the competition.

And today, in the 100th final of the Manoa Cup, the 46-year-old 2006 champion will play in his second final against 18-year-old Alex Ching of Honolulu.

Ota won his morning quarterfinal match, 5 and 4, over Michael Park, while Ching defeated two-time champion Travis Toyama in a match that went to six extra holes. Ching, a recent Punahou graduate, finished 1-up by the 24th for the win.

Ota advanced to play Wade Nakamura in the semifinal and Ching advanced to play Kaua‘i’s T.J. Kua.

Kua earned his spot in the semis by beating four-time Manoa Cup champion Brandon Kop, 1-up. He took Ching to his second sudden-death playoff of the day.

“We were both 4 under through the sixth hole and then (Alex) went 3 up after 13,” said Kua.

Kua was able to catch up and bring the match to all square by the 18th, sending it to a playoff.

“It was pretty one way for a while, then it went the other way, then the other way,” Kua said. “It was back and forth. We were having fun, but this was really important to me. I’m pretty crushed I lost.”

Kua lost on the first hole of the playoff when he missed a 4-foot putt. Kua was also a quarterfinalist in 2005.

The match between Ota and Ching will be a battle of the veteran versus the up-and-comer. Ota has finished in the top three of many of the tournaments played in and won the 41st O‘ahu Country Club Men’s Invitational Championship.

Ching, however, won that same event last year and although Ching was a senior in high school this past season, it was his first year competing on his high school golf team. He went on to win the Hawai‘i High School Association/David Ishii state individual title.

The champion will be crowned today and will be fitted for a green jacket, much like the one given to the Masters champion on the PGA tour.

The Manoa Cup is the oldest and most prestigious amateur championship for Hawai‘i and is celebrating its 100th year of existence.

Ota and Ching will play 36 holes, starting at 7 a.m., today. For hole-to-hole scoring, visit www.808golf.com

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