Guy Yamamoto honored 11 Jan. as new Hawaii hall of fame inductee

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HONOLULU—Guy Yamamoto, winner of the 1994 U.S. Amateur Men’s Public Links Championship, will be inducted into Aloha Section PGA’s Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame at the 6th annual Ho’olaule’a Awards banquet.

The banquet is set for Saturday, January 11th, at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

A dominant Hawaii amateur during the 1980s and 1990s, Yamamoto is one of only five island golfers to have captured the U.S. Amateur Men’s Public Links Championship, a feat he accomplished in 1994 when turned back Chris Riley on the 37th at the Eagle Bend Golf Club in Bigfork, Montana.

“This is something I’ll always remember,” he said at the time. “It shows that if you dream hard enough, sometimes your dreams can come true.”  That victory helped him realize another dream: an invitation to the 1995 Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club.

“I’m very humbled to be inducted into the Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame,” said Yamamoto, who now works as the general manager of the Mililani Golf Club in central Oahu. “There are so many great people in the Hall—people I looked up to and grew up reading about. To be included in the same circle with them is a tremendous honor.”

A winner of a dozen Hawaii golf championships, Yamamoto is one of only seven island golfers to have won both the State Match and Stroke-play championships.  He captured the Manoa Cup (symbolic of the Hawaiian Amateur Match Play Championship) in 1985 and again in 1992.  He won the State Stroke Play title in 1995.

Born and raised on the island of Kauai, Yamamoto learned to golf at the famed Wailua Municipal Golf Course, where he was introduced to the game by Chica Ishii, father of 1990 Hawaiian Open champion David Ishii.  The young golfer found the game to be a real challenge.  “I couldn’t understand why it was so difficult to hit a stationary ball,” he recalled, noting that the challenge kept him coming back for more.

As a teenager, he played on the Kauai High School golf team that won the 1979 Hawaii High School Championship. At the University of Hawaii, where he graduated with a degree in Business Management, he was named captain and voted most inspirational player in 1983 and 1984.

Yamamoto won his first local championship in 1983, teaming up with Ralden Chang to capture The Francis H. Ii Brown Four-Ball. His other titles include the 1993 Atherton Cup, the 1994 Oahu Country Club Invitational, the 1995 Ted Makalena Four-Ball (with partner Del Marc Fujita), the 1995 and 1996 Barbers Point Invitational, the 1996 Hickam Invitational, and the 1997 Mayor’s Cup.

During a distinguished amateur career, Yamamoto also qualified for two USGA U.S. Amateur Championships (1991, 1994) three USGA U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships (1991,1992, 1994), three Sunnehanna Amateur Championships (1985, 1995, 1997), two Porter Cups (1995, 1997) and four Hochi All Japan Amateur Championships (1984, 1991, 1993, 1996), finishing second in 1996.

In addition, he qualified for three United Airlines Hawaiian Opens (1993, 1995, 1996) and between 1986 and 1997 was a nine-time amateur team member in the John A. Burns Challenge Cup.

Although Yamamoto never turned pro, he has always worked in the golf business. Before assuming his current position at the Mililani Golf Club, he worked at the Olomana Golf Links, the Ewa Beach Golf Club and Pearl Country Club.

Now 52, Yamamoto lives in Waipahu with his wife, Terry.  He has two children. He is the 68th golfer to be inducted into the Aloha Section PGA Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame since its founding in 1988.

*The other four Hawaii golfers to have won the Men’s U.S. Amateur Public Links championship are Charles Barenaba, Jr. (1974), Randy Barenaba (1975), Dean Prince (1978) and Casey Watabu (2006).

The Aloha Section PGA will also be honoring Judge James Burns with the Aloha Section PGA Lifetime Achievement award. This award honors individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Professionals and Amateurs in Hawaii over an extended period of time through their actions on and off the golf course.  Although he laid his gavel down in 2007, Judge Burns continue to preside of Hawaii’s golf future through his father’s legacy of the Governor John A. Burns Challenge Cup, a Ryder Cup like format between Hawaii’s top Professionals and Amateurs, as well as the John A. Burn Intercollegiate tournament hosted by the University of Hawaii. Burns’ also remains active with many other charitable organizations ensuring the safe keeping of Hawaii’s future.

John Byrne
John Byrne

Founded the Maui Golf Review in 1995.

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