U.S. Amateur Public Links Championships: Yanagi downed by Blair in Publinx match play


She paid for her bogeys, her pars only helped her hang on and even her birdie was negated in spectacular fashion.

Hilo’s Nani Yanagi had little room for error Wednesday, losing to Sirene Blair 5 and 4 in the round of 64 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships in Dupont, Wash.

“She had an awesome round,” Yanagi said. “Any golfer who is sticking all of her irons on the greens and making 30- and 40-foot putts is tough to beat in match play. She played wonderful today, I give her that.”

Blair, a San Diego State sophomore from South Jordan, Utah, played bogey-free through 14 holes and collected three birdies.

Yanagi said she nearly hit a hole-in-one before she birdied the par-3 sixth hole for the second consecutive round at The Home Course. But Blair sank a 40-foot putt to remain 2-up.

“She was dropping anything she was touching. But I fought until the end, ” said Yanagi, who will spend the rest of her summer preparing for her junior year at Washington State.

Yanagi lost a stroke with a bogey on No. 2, and another bogey on No. 7 left her three shots behind. Yanagi parred the next six holes but lost a shot when Blair birdied the par-5 10th hole.

“I didn’t get as many birdies as I wanted, and that made it tough,” Yanagi said. “I think I had some great shots, but my driver was going pretty weak.”

Needing a miraculous run to stay in contention, Yanagi instead said her luck ran out. She took a quadruple-bogey when she twice hit the water on the par-3 No. 14 to end the match.

After qualifying at a Kauai sectional in June, she was playing in publinx match play for the first time after twice failing to advance out of stroke play. The tournament will be retired after Saturday’s final.

“Kind of a bummer,” Yanagi said. “It’s a great tournament, and I always look forward to playing with great competitors from all over the world.”

In the round of 32 on Thursday, Blair will face Maddie Szeryk of Allen, Texas.

Four golfers from Hawaii advanced to the second round, including Honolulu’s Rose Huang, who upset eighth-seeded Mariel Galdiano, the reigning Hawaii High School Athletic Association champion from Punahou, 2 and 1.

Also, Honolulu’s Eimi Koga earned a 3-and-1 victory against Florida’s Alex Milan; Honolulu’s Kaci Masuda beat Luciane Lee of Brazil 6 and 4; and Maui’s Cassy Isagawa outlasted Blair Lewis of La Mesa, Calif., in 20 holes.

In another match that lasted 20 holes, Honolulu’s Alice Kim lost to Katharine Patrick of Texas.

Men’s publinx: Honolulu’s John Oda built a six-stoke lead after 11 holes and eliminated Jacob Stockl of Clark, N.J., 4 and 3 to reach the second round in Newton, Kan.

The 12th-seeded Oda, who won the HHSAA title as a senior last season at Moanaloa, draws No. 44 Chelso Barrett of New Hampshire in the second round.