Ching defeats Ota in 100th Manoa Cup

Past champion Jonathan Ota and recent Punahou grad Alex Ching was supposed to play 36 holes in yesterday’s match-play final of the 100th Manoa Cup, but they didn’t need that many.

Ching defeated Ota, 8 and 7, in a victory that took 29 holes.

“(Jonathan) was hitting the ball well. I just made a couple putts,” he said.

Ching shot 67 for the first 18 holes, winning five straight holes from the fifth through 11th and going 7-up. He made three consecutive birdies from the fifth through seventh and parred the eighth and ninth to make the turn at 2-under 35.

Ching birdied the 19th and 20th holes and Ota won the 21st with a par. By the 25th, Ching was 9 up. They halved the next two holes. Ota won the 28th, but the match ended on the 29th hole when Ching was 8-up, leaving Ota no chance to even up the score.

Ota, the 2006 champion of Lihu‘e, shot 74 for the first 18, heading into the break at 3 over.

This was Ching’s fourth time competing in the Manoa Cup. He missed the cut the first two time and lost in the first round three years ago.

At the ceremony, Ching was given the coveted green jacket and trophy. Traditionally, the champions drink champagne out of the cup, but because Ching is only 18 years old, he couldn’t. But organizers of the Manoa Cup were able to uphold the tradition of throwing the winner into the country club pool.

“It fell so good,” said Ching, who had a long tournament.

Ching beat two-time champion Travis Toyama in 24 holes in the quarterfinals, then beat Kaua‘i’s T.J. Kua in 19.

Ota made it to his second finals yesterday by beating Michael Park in the quarters and Wade Nakamura in the semis.

“It feels good to have won. It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” Ching said.

Ching’s accomplishments a 2007 OCC Men’s Ivitational championship and a Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association/David Ishii Foundation state individual championship.

Ota’s include being the 41st OCC Men’s Invitational champion, the 1983 Kaua‘i Open champion and the 1979 state high school champion.

The Manoa Cup is the oldest golf tournament in the state.

It started with 116 golfers playing a qualifying round on Monday, followed by four days of match-play before the final yesterday.

Kaua‘i winners of the Manoa cup include 1964 champion Art Fujita and David Ishii in 1977.

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