Early on during his round as the wind picked up, Shon Katahira realized he was in survival mode.
But that’s the way Katahira likes it at Mauna Lani Resort’s North Course, and it’s one of the reasons he looks forward to the Big Island Amateur.
In the 91st edition of the tournament, the Waiakea sophomore was up to the test Sunday as he captured his first victory in his fourth try.
“It feels really special because I really like the course and have been playing here for quite a few years,” he said. “I really like that it’s a challenge. It’s long and when it gets windy it gets really tough.”
Katahira turned in a 78, retaking the lead on the back nine and edging Dalen Yamauchi by a stroke at 150.
He began the day with a two-shot advantage after making four birdies Saturday during a 72, and he held on despite not being as consistent Sunday.
“My ball-striking wasn’t as good and I had to grind it out,” he said. “After five or six holes I wasn’t playing well. I tried to get to the green, two-putt and make pars.”
Two putts did the trick on No. 18 when Yamauchi three-putted to finish his 75. Katahira said he averted disaster when he “shagged” his ball from the lip of the bunker, but it stayed in bounds.
He negotiated the bunker on the par-5 15th to reclaim a lead he lost three holes earlier. On the downhill par-3 No. 14, Katahira sank a 15-foot birdie putt.
“The greens roll really nicely and it plays to my game, I guess,” he said.
Dick Gillette finished in third.
Katahira’s group included a pair of Waiakea graduates and former champions in Yamauchi and Ciera Min, who was the first female winner last year.
“Ciera’s short game is great,” Katahira said. “I’ve always thought Dalen was a strong all-around player.”
In the senior division, Pat McGinness prevailed by carding his second consecutive 75. George Obana Jr. (78-77—155) was five strokes back in second, and Warren Arakaki (78-78—156) was third.
Calip completes double
Hilo Municipal may be his home course, but Nainoa Calip has owned Oahu Country Club as well this summer. Calip carded a 4-under 67 on Saturday to claim the Oahu Country Club Invitational by two strokes.
The former three-time Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion at Kamehameha became the seventh golfer to win the Manoa Cup and the invitational in the same year.
Calip and John Oda entered the third round tied at 5-under. They were still deadlocked through 13 holes until Calip birdied the par-3 No. 4 while Oda took a bogey.
Calip finished at 9-under 204.