Roosevelt’s Irei takes tournament from Won

Roosevelt's Kolbe Irei, a Manoa Cup veteran, earned his first win of the season in OIA golf on Tuesday. Dennis Oda / Star-Advertiser
Roosevelt’s Kolbe Irei, a Manoa Cup veteran, earned his first win of the season in OIA golf on Tuesday. Dennis Oda / Star-Advertiser

After a decade of dominance, the Moanalua boys golf team might face a challenge this year.

Na Menehune have won the OIA championship in each of the last 10 years and looked to be cruising to their 11th early in the season until the series unloaded at Ted Makalena Golf Course on Tuesday.

Reigning OIA champion Jun Ho Won of Moanalua won the first two events of the season with a 72 at Hawaii Prince and a 68 at Mililani, but Roosevelt’s Kolbe Irei finally caught him on Tuesday.

Irei fired a 70 on the flat municipal layout to beat Won by a stroke on Tuesday. In the two previous tournaments he shot a 78 to finish third at Hawaii Prince and a 70 at Mililani to finish in second behind Won.

Baik birdied five of his first 10 holes without a bogey before doubling 15 and 16 to fall behind Won and Irei. Won took a one shot lead after bogeying the par three 17th but tripled the closing hole to give the tournament to the Rough Rider. Irei and Baik both parred the hole. Irei shot a bogey-free 33 on the back nine to Won’s 36 and Baik’s 38.

Moanalua is still a force, of course, with Ray Kim finishing with a 73 to join Won in the top five.

But Roosevelt showed up in force on Tuesday, with Gunwook Baik shooting a 71 to tie Won for second. Baik came from out of nowhere, he shot an 82 at Mililani to finish 18th in that tournament and an 83 at Hawaii Prince to take 10th in that one.

Moanalua had only three golfers in the tournament, with Kaylen Ha taking 18th. Roosevelt had six golfers, with Adam Chiya joining the top 10 with a ninth-place finish. Enzo Takiguchi (30th), Yoon Ho Park (33rd) and Tredor Ikeda (44th) also teed it up for the Rough Riders.

On the girls side, 2015 OIA champ Malia Nam of Kaiser shot a 72 to beat Moanalua’s Tagira Laufalealo by two strokes for the Makalena crown. Nam finished second to Kalani’s Mikki Manta, who shot a 78 on Tuesday, at the OIA championships last year.

Nam has won all three OIA tournaments this year, beating Manta twice.

The league’s next tournament is March 13 at Hoakalei Country Club.


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