Local knowledge helps Mauians

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The youngsters who made the trip across the ‘pond’ may have found our courses and conditions just a tad tricky, but two great isle players soared. After round one, Cassy Isagawa of Wailuku and Kyeton Little-Kamimoto of Kahului have taken the lead in the 15-18 age division of the inaugural U.S. Kids Golf Hawaiian Classic at Ka’anapali.

Cassy shot a five-under-par, 67 on the Royal Course today to take the lead for the Girls Teen Division, while  Kyeton Little-Kamimoto  shot a one under, 71 to take the lead for the Boys Teen Division. Both of these juniors know this course well, but even given the local knowledge, they still had to make the shots, putts, and chips.

Isagawa has had quite a year: winning the 2010 HHSAA Girls Golf Championship, representing the U.S. in the 2010 Junior Ryder Cup in Scotland and taking home the trophy for the 2010 Junior PGA Champion.  Cassy had an amazing round today with six birdies and an eagle on #10 – she set the tone for her fellow Hawaii competitors in her age group, who trail Isagawa by 13 shots after Day 1.

Kyeton, who practices with Isagawa had just one bogie today on #18 and played a solid round, with two birdies on the back nine.  Kyeton, a student at Kamehameha Schools – Maui, recently won the Maui Country Club Men’s Golf Championship.  He holds just a two stroke lead over Lahainaluna boys, Noah Klipstein (74) and Malu Rosenthal (74).

In the Boys Age 6 division, Ian Fritz of Las Vegas shot even par (36) on the Ka’anapali Kai Course, playing from 1133 yards.  Lahaina boy, Caleb Chumley is just one stroke behind Fritz after the first round and should be in contention in his division.  Chumley, who plays almost daily as part of Ka’anapali’s Fit Club (afternoon walking program) has been practicing diligently over the last several months for the tournament.

Tyler Lipscomb of Carrollton, GA didn’t let jet lag bother him and shot a -2, 70 on the Kai Course today, playing from 2253 yards.  Lipscomb who came in 2nd in the August World Championship at Pinehurst is two strokes ahead of Canadian David Hu who shot even par (72).

Max Ting of Hong Kong takes the lead in the Boys Age 10 division after day 1 with a 75 (+3).  With 22 kids in his age group and several boys only a few shots behind, Ting will have to continue to play strong in order to maintain his lead.

Everton Hawkins of Irvine, CA shot -3 (69) on the Royal Course, playing from 5788 yards, to lead by two shots over Kyosuke Hara of Honolulu, HI in the Boys Age 12 division.  David Snyder of McAllen, TX made an eagle on #10 and takes a 4 stroke lead in the Boys Age 13 division who finished up today at -4 (68).

For the 7 & Under Girls division, Lauren Calderon of South Pasadena, CA has a 6 shot lead and shot a 43 (par 36) on the Kai Course today.  In the Girls Age 8 division, New York, NY player, Soona Lee-Tolley shot a 37, just one over par (36) on the Kai Course, which was playing from 1600 yards for her age group.

Girls Age 10 division is lead by Kapolei, HI player Aneka Seumanutafa who shot 74 (+2) on the Kai Course, playing from 4170 yards and leads her division by 3 strokes.

The Girls Age 12 division should be a close match throughout the 3-day event.  After round one, Zoey Akagi-Bustin of Wahiawa shot a 79 and has a 3 stroke lead over Kahului player Kristeena Locke (82).  With several others not far behind, watch for some serious competition among this age division over the next two rounds.

President of U.S. Kids Golf Foundation, Dan Van Horn comments about the inaugural U.S. Kids Golf Event at Ka’anapali, “Kids and families from Hawaii have been a part of our events since our inaugural World Championship in 2000.  In fact, the team from Hawaii won the team competition in that same event with several individual world champions crowned.  Naturally, it was only a matter of time before we tried to get a tournament here, and we are so happy that this is finally happening this year.”

Van Horn added, “Those who have never seen this level and quality of play out of young kids will be astonished by their abilities.  I look forward to some truly amazing golf in the coming days, with many rounds below par each day.”

The field consisted of 166 participants, with more than 60 coming from the host state of Hawaii. The remainder of the field consists of players from 23 states, Canada, Guam, Hong Kong, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The top three finishers from each age division will earn top status with U.S. Kids Golf, which includes an invitation to the 2011 World Championship at Pinehurst Resort and the 2011 European Championship in Scotland.

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