Atlanta/Kaua‘i Challenge tees off Saturday at Wailua Golf Course

The public is invited to view the competition of the 2011 Atlanta/Kaua‘i Team Challenge when the first round tees off Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. at the Wailua Golf Course.

The 36-hole competition in a Ryder Cup format between Team Atlanta and Team Kaua‘i concludes Sunday when the first group tees off starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Wailua Golf Course.

Sixteen junior golfers from Atlanta, Ga., will compete with 16 Kaua‘i junior golfers in Four-Ball, Foursomes and Singles Match Play in the Boys 15-18, Boys 13-14, Boys 12 and Under, and Girls divisions.

“We are honored and pleased to once again host the Atlanta Junior Golf Association,” said Mary Bea Porter-King, president of the Kaua‘i Junior Golf Association, in a release.

“Throughout the years, they have become our friends, as they have taught us Southern hospitality while we have introduced them to the aloha spirit. This competition is a great opportunity for our Kaua‘i juniors to elevate their games as the matches historically have seen some really good golf.”

Porter-King and Ron Pereen, the KJGA Tournament Director, serve as co-captains for the Kaua‘i team.

Kenji Miyata, Pono Tokioka, Reyn Morioka and Braeden Robley make up the Kaua‘i Boys 15-18 team who will be pitted against the Atlanta combination of Bailey Ulp, Drew Wagner, Jacob Brown and Hunter Elliott.

Bryden Salvador, K.C. Loo, Jamie Amimoto and Kainalu Gandia are the Kaua‘i Boys 13-14 team who will match up against Atlanta’s Hunter Bremer, Jake Lawson, Michael Collins and Harrison Sewell.

Trevor Kua, Rilen Loo, Reece Valencia and Nathaniel Dama are the Kaua‘i Boys 12 and Under team who will host Atlanta’s Jordan Baker, George Eubank Jr., Austin Fulton and Andrew Mora.

Daezsa Tomas, Taylor Viquelia, Na‘ea Oda and Salisa Pegeder are the Kaua‘i Girls who will face Atlanta’s Taylor Allen, Anna Davenport, Whitney Stevenson and Cierra Hoyle.

When the teams tee off at the Wailua Golf Course, the tournament marks its eighth exchange since 1999, the Atlanta team having won six of the competitions and Kaua‘i enjoying one victory.

The tournament is hosted alternatively on Kaua‘i and Atlanta with players of the visiting team staying with partners from the host team and their families. This leads the juniors to realize that even though they’re from the same country, the lifestyles in Kaua‘i and Atlanta vary greatly.

The Atlanta/Kaua‘i Team Challenge was started by former AJGA Executive Director Merilee Giddings and Porter-King after an idea between two friends to bring two different cultures together blossomed into a cultural exchange from which life-long friendships were forged.

“This program is as much about building friendships as it is about golf competition,” said Beth Tokioka, mother of KJGA golfer Pono Tokioka, in the release.

All KJGA members and the public are welcome to attend and cheer on their favorite team or individualist.

A practice round will be played Friday with Team Atlanta teeing off at 7 a.m. followed by Team Kaua‘i teeing off at 7:30 a.m.

A closing banquet and awards ceremony will follow Sunday’s play at the Jailhouse Pub and Grill at the Wailua Golf Course.

The Atlanta teams arrive Wednesday afternoon and depart Kaua‘i Monday afternoon.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com. 

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