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T.J. Kua Wins the Hawaii Amateur Stroke Play Championship

AIEA, HI (March 14, 2010)--Not bad for a first-timer ... sort of.

While coming up through high school and early in his college career, T.J. Kua's school and golf schedule kept him from competing for the Hawaii State Amateur Stroke Play Championship.

The four-day tournament finally fell into a favorable window this year and Kua claimed the title in his first appearance in the event.

Kua, a University of Hawaii sophomore, wasn't all that thrilled with shooting 2-over-par 74 in yesterday's final round at Pearl Country Club. But it was enough to add the state stroke-play title to the match-play crown he captured last summer by winning the Manoa Cup.

"I was thinking last night if there are any majors in Hawaii as far as amateur tournaments, it would be Manoa Cup and this tournament," Kua said. "So I was really excited."

Kua began the day with a five-shot lead over Bradley Shigezawa and closed the tournament with a four-round total of 5-under 283.

Shigezawa birdied the first hole as he tried to make a run at Kua yesterday. But back-to-back bogeys sapped his momentum and the Punahou senior settled for a 73 to end the weekend at 1-under 287.

"I had some pretty sloppy errors on the front nine," Shigezawa said. "I couldn't get the speed of the greens down early enough. The greens slowed down from yesterday and I had a hard time adjusting."

The rest of the field couldn't make a move either, with only two players shooting rounds of even par. Kamehameha senior Alika Bell's 72 was enough to give him sole possession of third.

Kua didn't play in the state amateur while at Kamehameha to help minimize the amount of class time he missed during the high school golf season, and last year's tournament conflicted with a UH road trip.

With a break in the Rainbow Warriors' schedule this spring, he entered the tournament and built a comfortable lead through the first three days.

While Kua didn't exactly sprint away from the field yesterday, he managed to hold his ground throughout the afternoon, avoiding the level of pressure he endured while sweating out a 1-up duel with Layne Morita in last year's Manoa Cup final.

After his drive at No. 10 went into the rough, his second shot struck a tree limb and dropped about 30 feet in front of him. But he cozied his third shot close to the pin and made the putt to save par.

He encountered another hiccup on the par-3 16th, when his tee shot drifted left, hit a cart path and shot across the fairway, rolling into a pond. After carding his second double bogey of the day, he hit his drive on No. 17 into the trees on the left side. He then drilled a low shot that rolled onto the green, putting him in position for a two-putt birdie.

He closed with a par on No. 18 to seal it.

"I was scrambling a whole lot today, and to come out with a reasonably decent score is OK," Kua said.

"I wanted to come in with four rounds not over par, but I didn't really do so well. But it was relieving to know I had a lead."

Final results of the Hawaii Amateur Stroke Play Championship, played March 11-14, 2010 at Pearl Golf Club:

Rank Player Name Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Total
1 T.J. Kua 72 69 68 74 283
2 Bradley Shigezawa 71 72 71 73 287
3 Alika Bell 79 67 74 72 292
4 Kazuya Koura 75 74 70 74 293
5 Jonathan Ota 74 74 70 77 295
T6 Zady Ari 74 72 71 79 296
  Isamu Fujii 73 75 72 76 296
T8 Matthew Ma 72 74 77 74 297
  Grant Natori 78 73 73 73 297
10 Brandan Kop 77 73 73 75 298
11 David Saka 72 74 76 78 300
12 Brett Komoto 67 79 78 78 302
T13 John Oda 78 79 71 75 303
  Kazuo Sato 72 74 83 74 303
15 Samuel Rodriguez III 77 77 73 78 305
T16 Tatsuro Kaneko 76 74 76 80 306
  Kyle Kunioka 75 75 77 79 306
  Takayuki Wada 77 79 76 74 306
T19 Lorens Chan 78 73 71 85 307
  Chase Bingham 81 75 73 78 307
  Seung Jae Maeng 81 74 75 77 307
T22 Mike Kawate 77 76 75 80 308
  Masamichi Momose 77 78 73 80 308
  Donny Hopoi 77 75 78 78 308
25 Phillip Anamizu 76 77 78 78 309
26 Patrick Hawthorne 76 74 88 72 310
27 Todd Rego 75 75 81 80 311
T28 Hunter Larson 71 80 76 85 312
  Brian Lee 77 76 81 78 312
  Corey Kozuma 75 80 82 75 312
  Jared Sawada 79 78 80 75 312
32 Reo Saito 79 77 77 80 313
33 Martin Black 79 77 78 80 314
T34 Kalena Preus 78 75 84 79 316
  Bou-An Fujieki 81 75 81 79 316
36 Allisen Corpuz 75 76 84 82 317
T37 David Long 78 78 76 86 318
  Ken Maeda 78 78 78 84 318
39 Joey Sakaue 76 80 86 79 321
T40 Richie Ingalls 78 73 82 90 323
  Philip Delisi 79 77 78 89 323

CUT
T42 Paul Kimura 77 81     158
  Tyler Ota 77 81     158
  KC Botelho 82 76     158
T45 Cole Yamane 80 79     159
  Randy Yim 80 79     159
  Isaac Jaffurs 81 78     159
  Jared Flores 84 75     159
T49 Michael Fan 78 82     160
  Sam Pratt 78 82     160
  Steve Nonies 78 82     160
  Patrick Murakami 80 80     160
  Cannen Shaw 81 79     160
  Brendon Chun 82 78     160
  Allan Kuaana 83 77     160
T56 Koji Tezuka 79 82     161
  Kyle Yawata 79 82     161
  Jacob Mikulik 80 81     161
  Steven Stock 82 79     161
  Jon Scolari 84 77     161
T61 Shigeru Matsui 77 85     162
  Timothy Galvan 80 82     162
  Chris DeAlmeida 81 81     162
  David Hamada 82 80     162
  George Obana Jr. 86 76     162
T66 Eimi Koga 81 82     163
  Robert Collins 81 82     163
  Clesson Pang 82 81     163
  Jared Kato 82 81     163
  Lee Sakugawa 83 80     163
  Kyle Hayashi 84 79     163
72 Tyler Welling 79 85     164
T73 Daniel Skellan 81 84     165
  Hiroshi Kimura 81 84     165
  Toshikazu Igarashi 84 81     165
  Zachary Nadamoto 81 85     166
  Toshimitsu Akamatsu 82 84     166
  Clive Kegel 84 82     166
  Neal Iverson 86 80     166
80 Galvin Fujii 89 83     172
81 Andy Toth 89 85     174
82 Beau Belbas 91 85     176
  Shuichi Udagawa 79 DQ     DQ
  Shunichi Kasuya 92 DQ     DQ
  Scott Hayashi 81 WD     WD
  Travis Liu 87 WD     WD
  Rinko Kurokawa WD       WD
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