Wailuku’s Cassy Isagawa help Ducks take 5th at Peg Barnard Collegiate

Wailuku Cassie Isigawa Photo Courtesy: Eric Evans (Go Ducks)

Wailuku’s Cassie Isigawa help Ducks take 5th
Photo Courtesy: Eric Evans (Go Ducks)

The Oregon women’s golf team posted yet another top five team finish, placing fifth at the Peg Barnard Collegiate. The No. 16 Ducks carded a two-round tally of 596 (+28) in the spring season opener to best nine times on the Stanford Golf Course.

The Ducks have placed in the top five in five-of-six tournaments this season. In Sunday’s final round, Oregon posted a 300 (+16) to hold their fifth place position. Oregon carded a 296 (+12) in the opening round.

Junior Cassy Isagawa led the Ducks by posting her fourth top 10 finish of the season. The Wailuku, Hawaii, native placed tied for fourth with a 36 hole card of 141 (-1). She fired a steady even par (71) closing round. Isagawa birdied holes No. 7 and 8 before carding a double-bogey on the ninth hole. She closed with a streak of 13 straight pars to provide Oregon’s top finish.

Isagawa has carded nine rounds at or below par this season. She improves her team-best season round average to 72.1.

Michelle Wie: American Team Solheim Cup

David Cannon/Getty ImagesU.S. Solheim Cup team players, from left to right, Gerina Piller, Jessica Korda, Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel, Paula Creamer and Lizette Salas test out their team Sunice waterproofs as a preview for the 2013 Solheim Cup at The Colorado Golf Club on August 13.

David Cannon/Getty ImagesU.S. Solheim Cup team players, from left to right, Gerina Piller, Jessica Korda, Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel, Paula Creamer and Lizette Salas test out their team Sunice waterproofs as a preview for the 2013 Solheim Cup at The Colorado Golf Club on August 13.

PARKER, Colo. — Michelle Wie hasn’t won a tournament in three years. She didn’t come close to earning a spot on the Solheim Cup. Being a captain’s pick for the second time on the last three American teams stood out even more this year because one of the players left out won on the LPGA Tour this year.

This would seem to be a good time to do whatever she can to blend in at Colorado Golf Club. Except for the socks.

The Solheim Cup - Preview Day 2

Wie added her own touch to the U.S. uniform of a khaki skirt, red shirt and a blue cap. She showed up on the practice range with knee-high socks of red-and-white stripes capped off by a thick blue stripe with white stars.

“It’s a bit patriotic,” Wie said Wednesday. “I just kind of accumulate things over the year. I see things and I’m like, ‘Oh, that would be great for Solheim Cup.’ And I just brought them out.”

It’s far more important that she bring out her very best game as the Americans try to stay perfect on home soil and win back the Solheim Cup from Europe.

U.S. captain Meg Mallon met with Wie at St. Andrews after the Women’s British Open to tell her she was on the team. The next thing she told Wie — after the 23-year-old from Hawaii stopped crying — was to not think of herself as a wild-card selection, but one of 12.

It does hurt when I hear things. But if I don’t have something nice to say, I’m not going to say it. That’s how I work

“It’s tough being a captain’s pick,” Mallon said. “There’s a lot of pressure that players put on themselves being a pick.”

Then again, that’s a big reason why she took Wie.

Few other golfers have received so much attention for winning so little. Wie first was recognized in golfing circles when she was a 12 and blasted 270-yard tee shots during a Pro-Junior event at the Sony Open alongside PGA Tour players. Scrutiny followed a short time later, and it has been relentless.

Some of it was grounded in jealously. Without having won a tournament, Wie still attracted the largest galleries and the richest endorsement contracts. Some of it was grounded in reality. Wie spent her teen years trying to play against the men — PGA Tour events, even U.S. Open qualifying — without ever showing she could beat the women.

Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesMichelle Wie took it upon herself to add a little American flavour to the U.S. uniforms at the Solheim Cup.

If there is additional pressure as a captain’s pick, who better to handle it?

“She lives on this stage almost every day that she plays,” Mallon said. “So walking into this environment is not going to affect her. I needed another player like that on the team. I had three rookies already. And like I said earlier, do I want five to six birdies a day at home sitting on the couch? So for me, that was a pretty easy decision.”

The hard part falls to Wie.

She has a 4-3-1 record in two appearances, including a 3-0-1 mark in her debut in 2009 outside Chicago when she also was a captain’s pick. Wie went 1-3 two years ago in Ireland, losing to Suzann Pettersen in singles on the 18th hole in a European victory.

There is reason for skepticism when Mallon says she didn’t want to leave “five or six birdies” at home on the couch. Wie has never been a great putter, and it has been several years since she was considered among the longest hitters.

Now, her putting is noticed for the peculiar stance. She struggled so badly late last year that she tried stooping her 6-foot frame so that her back is perpendicular to the ground and her eyes are directly above the ball. It looks funny. It looks painful. But it works.

“I always felt a little bit uncomfortable being tall putting,” Wie said. “And I was just like, ‘OK, I’ll go down lower to the ground. And I made every single putt coming in. And then I went to Dubai and I did the same thing there. I putted a lot better.”

As for the stance?

“A lot of people have asked me how my back is, if my back hurts,” she said. “But it actually feels a lot better doing that for me. Because I’m flexible, it’s easier.”

Mallon is more interested in numbers than appearance.

She said Wie has gone from 147th in putting a year ago to 37th this year. Mallon also said Colorado Golf Club is more of a second-shot course. Wie has been wild off the tee, but the fairways here are exceptionally wide.

“Her trouble has nothing to do with approach shots, and her short game is one of the best we have on our tour,” Mallon said. “This golf course, players will need lot of creativity. So I knew this was a very good fit for her.”

Mallon gave Wie one other piece of advice. Don’t bother reading any stories about the captain’s picks.

The pick smacked of yet another dose of entitlement for Wie, even suggestions that she was chosen solely for television ratings. Remember, this is the kid who was given an exemption to the U.S. Women’s Open when she was 14, and who was the first amateur to play in the LPGA Championship as a teen.

Wie, who graduated last year from Stanford with a degree in communications, quit reading long ago. And despite facing criticism at such a young age, she has shown remarkable maturity in not fighting back. The high road comes naturally.

“It’s just the way my parents raised me,” she said. “My mom always said — and I know it’s a cliche — ‘If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing.’ Everyone has their reasons for saying things and everyone is entitled to it. I always try to think the best of everyone. It does hurt when I hear things. But if I don’t have something nice to say, I’m not going to say it. That’s how I work.”

Source: Doug Ferguson A.P (National Post)

Sakamoto Ready to Take Next Step

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications

Aug 15, 2013 (Menafn – The Honolulu Star-Advertiser – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) –Coming out of Kalani High School, Nicole Sakamoto offered us a peek at lots of potential but little else. What a difference five years, hard work, good coaching and confidence can make.

Sakamoto just won her fourth consecutive Hawaii State Women’s Stroke Play Championship, giving her seven titles in the last 10 Hawaii women’s majors she has played. In between, she won two collegiate tournaments and shattered almost every golf record James Madison ever had.

Next week, she leaves for Stage I of LPGA Qualifying, at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. After a year of training and working at Olomana Golf Links, and helping her family out, Sakamoto is taking the next step. It’s a steep one, but now golf is not just a game, but her passion. And, she believes in herself.

None of that was true five years ago.

“Not at all,” Sakamoto acknowledged. “I liked golf, but when I first began I didn’t like it much. I broke through in college. I did not see myself where I am today, but I’m very thankful I am here and that I get the opportunity to pursue what I want.”

Success here, on her first summer back from JMU, gave her a glimmer of hope. She broke through her sophomore season in college.

“I won a big tournament with a bunch of top schools,” Sakamoto recalled. “When I beat those girls I was like, OK. … Now I’m pretty focused.”

Everyone watching has seen the change. The tall girl out of Casey Nakama’s Golf Development Program now plays with the imagination of Nakama and the precise execution of Hawaii Golf Hall of Famer Lance Suzuki. He started working with Sakamoto in high school, when she needed more individual instruction and Nakama’s junior program was taking off.

“It was a good, mutual thing,” Nakama said. “I totally trust his information.”

Suzuki brought her to the point where she could dominate here, but it wasn’t until Sakamoto saw consistent success back east that she believed in herself. Suzuki knows there are still gaps in her game — it’s golf — but is convinced she is ready.

“She knows basically that … she is capable of doing this,” he said. “To me, that’s good enough. If you believe you can do it you are capable. She went away to school, played on the East Coast. That’s a plus for her. She won tournaments in college, competed and won on the mainland.

“The main thing is she dominated women’s golf here the last three years so she has to spread her wings and see how she will do at the next level. That’s what she’s been practicing and playing for even in college. She knew she wanted to turn pro and give the LPGA a try. It’s her dream. Within the next few weeks it will come true.”

Nearly 300 players will be at the first stage. Last year 61 advanced to the second stage of three. The last two stages are in Florida, where Suzuki likes Sakamoto’s chances in conditions more like where she grew up.

He admits a big part of the reason she dominated here was her 5-foot-8 height and strength, using the Larry Price line “physical superiority cancels out all strategy.” Now she will be with players who hit farther, so shotmaking and course management are more critical, along with putting.

But confidence is the most critical gift a golfer can have, Suzuki insists, and Sakamoto has it.

“Confidence is everything in golf,” Suzuki said. “As a coach or teacher, if you can instill confidence it’s the greatest asset you can give a kid. If you give her the confidence that she can win … once she believed that it was so much easier.”

It took awhile, but Sakamoto got there with a little help from her friends and family.

“I feel like I can play with the girls on the LPGA,” Sakamoto said. “This is just to see how good I really am, mentally and physically. Mentally mostly, because golf is 95 percent mental. It will show me exactly what I need to touch up on.”

That will happen in the first round, Aug. 27, or maybe even earlier on the driving range. But folks who know her best aren’t worried. They realize she is now pursuing her passion, and has a lot more going for her than golf.

“She thinks good,” Nakama said, “and doesn’t have any … sometimes parents get in the way, but her mom and dad are real good. They relaxed a little bit so she’s doing it for herself. That’s important, I think.”

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Michelle Wie’s advice of turning Pro for Lydia Ko – The Choice is hers!

Should Lydia Ko turn pro?

There’s a growing buzz about her future after the 15-year-old amateur sensation won the New Zealand Women’s Open last week for her third professional title in 53 weeks.

Michelle Wie & Lydia Ko

Michelle Wie, who turned pro just days before her 16th birthday, likes the affable Ko. Wie was asked what advice she would give Ko about turning pro.

Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie

“I have no advice for her,” Wie said. “Turning pro or not turning pro, going to college, not going to college, it’s a very personal decision. It’s not something someone can say: `I think you should turn pro. I think you should stay an amateur. I think you should do this or that.’

“It’s her life; it’s her career. When I turned pro, I really wanted to turn pro. That was a very personal decision for me. I really wanted to do that, and I have no regrets. I hope she makes the right decision for her. Whatever decision she makes, it has to really just be on her and what she wants to do.”

Wie, Ko and Yani Tseng are paired together in the first two rounds of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open this week.

“She’s a phenomenal player,” Wie said. “The fact that she’s won three times in the last 53 weeks, it’s phenomenal. She’s really a nice person as well. She seems like she has a great head on her shoulders. She just seems like a kid. So, I hope she stays that way, and she just keeps getting better. I hope she just enjoys it.”

Source: Golf Channel

Michelle Wie is ready to put 2012 behind her and push on in 2013

Michelle Wie Putting

STANDORD – Michelle Wie is hopeful that 2013 is the year she fulfills her potential after completing a degree at Stanford. Wie endured a tough 2012, recording just one top 10 finish on the LPGA Tour and only 19 below-par rounds over the entire season. The year was not a complete write off for the American though as she completed her degree at Stanford with a Major in Communications, leaving her to now focus on her career on the course.

“All that I can really remember is just wanting to go to Stanford and just kind of achieving that goal of mine was almost as important as playing golf. “So just being able to do that was awesome,” Wie said at a press conference in the build up to this week’s Australian Women’s Open.

The 23-year-old is the first to admit that 2012 was a year to forgot for her. “2012 was probably the worst year I’ve ever had in my entire career,” she explained. “It was rough. Kind of one thing led to another and it kind of snowballed. “The next thing I knew I was kind of struggling to keep my head above water. But I think I learned a lot from last year.

“I think that struggling makes you really realise what you have to work on in the game, what is really lacking and it makes you really realise that you have to work harder, you have to become a better player. I just really started from scratch. “I got pretty low a couple of times but I just won’t let myself get to that point. It’s still something that I really love to do. “At times it was a struggle, not enjoying it, but I was kind of just going out there and just really giving it my all. I had a lot of help from a lot of people.” Having worked hard in the off-season to iron out any faults in her game, Wie is hopeful that she can push on and achieve consistent success.

“Sometimes you’ve got to really look at yourself. I really needed this off season I think to just kind of take some time and not try to fix everything in one week the week before a tournament or whatever, but just take a good month, two months to really let it slowly get back on track, instead of just trying to change it all in one week. “I think that’s what I did this off season. Some reporter asked me earlier on what I worked on in the off season and I replied everything.

Michelle Wie supports junior golf tournament at Wailea

WAILEA – The biggest draw in women’s golf for the past decade, Michelle Wie, has committed to support the season-ending Hawaii State Junior Golf Association (HSJGA) Tournament of Champions at Wailea Golf Club on Dec. 15-16.

The contest is the most prestigious junior golf event in Wie’s native State of Hawaii.

In a record-setting 2002 season, Wie won the 15- to 18-year-old division as a 12-year-old member of the HSJGA, capturing national attention and launching an international career.

“This is my chance to give back to the organization and help the young golfers in Hawaii grow in this game that’s given me so much,” Michelle Wie said.

Wie will assume the title sponsorship of the event and utilize her considerable presence to energize fundraising efforts for the HSJGA.

She will also donate time and collectibles, plus match the first $10,000 in donations in an online fundraising campaign.

Her efforts will ensure Hawaii’s junior golfers continue to experience a “first-class” competition featuring tournament winners from the 2012 schedule.

“The HSJGA and I go way back to when I was just a kid who loved to hit the ball a long way,” Wie said.

“They gave me the opportunity to develop my game and competitive drive in an open, nurturing environment. They really made it possible for me to take my game to the next level.”

The HSJGA Tournament of Champions has been a highlight on the schedule since its founding in 1998. The 2012 Michelle Wie HSJGA Tournament of Champions edition anticipates more than 75 entries, including 50 winners of 23 HSJGA tournaments during the calendar year.

Other notable past champions include Alex Ching, Stephanie Kono, Lorens Chan, Cassy Isagawa, Tadd Fujikawa and Miki Ueoka.

“I really don’t think Michelle realizes the enormity of her positive impact on junior golf, not only in Hawaii but across the United States and the world for that matter,” said Mary Bea Porter-King, HSJGA president.

“The HSJGA is so proud of the way she has started her career on the LPGA Tour while being a full-time student at Stanford. We are so happy to have her back home to ignite more interest in junior golf in Hawaii and help the HSJGA ‘Develop Tomorrow’s Leader’s One Swing at a Time.’ “

Wie is the most recognizable alumnus in the history of the HSJGA. In turn, the association gave Wie a grounding in fundamentals that grew during her meteoric rise.

“I am so proud of Michelle in reaching out to the HSJGA to build a partnership. She is truly leading by example by giving back,” said Porter-King.

Founded in 1998, the HSJGA has offered the opportunity for thousands of Hawaii juniors to experience the benefits found in the game of golf through tournaments, team competitions and college workshops.

With Wie’s support, the future of the HSJGA continues its forward progress.

The 2013 schedule anticipates even more junior golfers competing in over 25 events in Hawaii.

Along with talented professional stars like Wie, the HSJGA has counted doctors, lawyers, musicians, accountants, business owners and teachers among its alumni.

The skills young golfers develop in the program have helped scores of Hawaii juniors earn scholarships from college programs across the nation.

Source: Lahaina News

Maui Bianca Armanini: Hypnosis focuses women’s golf team

Freshman golfer Bianca Armanini approaches the tee, pulls back her club, drives through the ball and watches as it soars down the fairway and lands safely on the putting green. This, however, has taken place hours, and possibly even days, before she ever steps on the course.

The Hawaii native has been implementing a technique that combines controlled breathing, pre-visualization and hypnosis.

“It gets rid of all the jitters,” Armanini said.

There appeared to be no jitters as she placed in the top 20 in her Wildcat debut. Armanini had the best score for the ’Cats and led the team to a fifth place finish among 17 teams at the Grand Canyon Fall Invitational Sept. 24 in Litchfield, Ariz.

Her father, Doug Armanini, is a sports hypnotist and introduced his daughter to the training that helps her keep a calm demeanor, even during stressful golf tournaments.

“It relaxes you and speaks to your subconscious,” she said.

Wildcat golfers Alexandra Bush and Sarah McComish have had sessions with Doug Armanini as well. He joined the team before the Viking Invitational at Western Washington University to help prepare them for the tournament.

“I want to see them make it all the way to nationals and win the title,” he said.

The process is about creating mental imagery, Doug Armanini said. He aims to remove negative mental images and sometimes replace them with positive ones. This achieves a deeper state of consciousness, and these changes can be made through advanced breathing techniques.

The process, known as diaphragmatic breathing, involves circular breathing in from the nose and out through the mouth as the lungs slowly fill up from the bottom to the top, Doug Armanini said. It continues as the athlete enters a semi-conscious state, which rides the edge between sleep and full awareness.

A question is then asked to aim and activate the mind’s eye,where the imagination exists, and to turn the visions into truths, he said.

Being hypnotized is relaxing, but Bianca Armanini is always able to hear her father, she said.

This is important, because only real results can be achieved through the individual’s own words and visions, Doug Armanini said.

Others who use the same techniques have had success. In 2011, Bianca’s brother, Chris Armanini, along with the rest of the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s men’s golf team, won the Pacific West Division Championship with the aid of Doug Armanini’s techniques.

Many top athletes consider the techniques integral parts of their game.

Jack Nicklaus, the winner of 18 PGA major tournaments and author of “Golf My Way,” shares his experience using some of the same techniques to keep every shot and every hole in a focused picture in his book.

“It’s like a color movie,” Nicklaus said in his book, “and the next scene shows me having the kind of swing that will turn the images into reality.”

The Wildcat women aim to turn the vision of a championship title into a reality.

Read More: Here with Kevin Lee

9th Annual Women Drivers Golf Tournament: Women’s Fund of Hawaii

Women’s Fund of Hawaii is holding its ninth annual Women Drivers Golf Tournament on Monday, Oct. 22, at Mid-Pac Country Club. Registration is at 10:30 with a shotgun start at 12 noon. Women-Only Golf Tournament Benefits Women And Girls

The tournament uses a scramble format with 20 percent team handicap (max handicap is 36), four-person teams, maximum two putts. Cost per team is $600 or $150 for an individual for a day full of fun, food, prizes and …..golf.

Sponsors this year are American Savings Bank, Veracity Payment Solutions, Bishop & Co., Jenkins Eye Care and the Cat Clinic.

Women’s Fund of Hawaii support innovative grassroots programs that benefit women and girls in Hawaii. Grants from Women’s Fund of Hawaii address the issues of violence, adolescent pregnancy, low self-esteem, physical and mental health problems, substance abuse, prostitution, incarceration, immigration status, sexual orientation, inadequate childcare and sports inequalities.

  • WHAT: Women’s Fund of Hawaii Women Drivers Golf Tournament
  • WHO: Women only four-person teams
  • WHERE: Mid-Pacific Country Club, Kailua
  • WHEN: Monday, October 22, 10:30 a.m. for registration; 12 noon shotgun start —
  • WHY: To support innovative grassroots programs that benefit women and girls in Hawaii

Women are doing well in Hawai’i – there are countless examples of successful women in a variety of professions. But that’s only part of the Hawai’i story.

Far too many women in the Hawaiian Islands live in poverty. They cannot even meet the basic needs of food, shelter, medical care and transportation. They have a history of substance abuse, incarceration, violence or sexual abuse. Many are in poor physical and emotional health and have inadequate job opportunities. Others became mothers at too early an age.

These women have children. They, too, are living in poverty, and unless there is help, the cycle of poverty is destined to continue.

Without your help, too many women will fail. That is why the Women’s Fund of Hawai’i was established.

We believe that when one woman is not financially secure, safe and empowered, we are all less so.

When women thrive, families and communities prosper.

Lady Buf N Blu’s bring home 1st place Trophy in the ANHS Golf Invitational

Congratulations to Punahou for their great play last weekend in the Antigua National High School Golf Invitational and brought home 1st place trophies in both the girls and boys division.

The third annual event was played at McCormick Ranch. The Punahou girls won by six shots over Hamilton, one of the host schools from nearby Chandler. The Buffanblu shot Friday’s only sub-300 round, firing an 8-over-par 296 to take a 13-shot lead into the final round. Format was best four scores of a five-player team. There were 15 teams from five states in the girls field. Team scores ranged from Punahou’s 597 to 870. Only eight schools broke 700. Komoto, a senior headed to Northwestern, shot 68-76 for even-par 144. Her 68 was the tournament low by three shots. Maddie Szeryk, from Allen, Texas, was a shot back. Punahou freshman Mariel Galdiano (72—148) tied for fifth and senior Sarah Hasselman (75—150) eighth. The Top 10 were on the all-tournament team. Kristen Le, another Punahou freshman, shot 77—155 to get a share of 13th and senior Rayna Nakao (79—164) was 23rd. The Punahou boys held a one-shot lead after an opening round 294, then stormed in with a 4-under-par 284. Their winning total of 578 was 11 shots better than Mountain View, from Mesa, Ariz.

Team Results

Individual Results by Team

Individual Results by Place

Wie Looks To End Her Victory Drought at the Kingsmill Championship

Hawaii’s Michelle Wie hopes that her patience and resilience will pay off as she attempts to end her victory drought at the upcoming Kingsmill Championship 2012, scheduled to begin from September 6-9, at Williamsburg, Kingsmill Resort, River Course, Virginia.

Wie has been faltering and desperately seeking to get back on track since her last triumph at the CN Canadian Women’s Open in 2010. Her performance in the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open was nothing compared to what she did in the 2010 edition, but she clearly has not lost hope and wants to atone for the losses.

The Hawaii star let her fans down once again last week as she could not make the cut at Canadian Open, played at the Vancouver Golf Club. She teed off with a big aim in her mind but when it came time to stand firm against rivals, her shots lost momentum and she walked off the course without even making the cut.

She had expressed her full confidence in her game during her interview at the Safeway Classic 2012, held just a week before the CN Canadian Women’s Open 2012. She said that she was fully prepared to take part in the Open because she was fired up thanks to a victory in the 2010 edition.

“It’s great when you go back as defending champion.  It’s really fun.  I’ve never been to Vancouver before.  I’m very excited.  I’ve heard the best about it, so I’m very excited,” Wie had said.

Niel Thompson

However, the Safeway Classic 2012 saw the LPGA star display a superb performance as she finished 8th after posting an overall score of 208. The three-round tournament featured a fearsome field — like the Canadian Open — but Wie did not let her nerves overcome her at all and fought a nerve-racking battle till the final moment.

In Virginia, Wie will have to face battle-hardened contenders like Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, Cristie Kerr, Se Ri Pak, Lexi Thompson, Brittany Lang, Juli Inkster and Natalie Gulbis.

Despite what she has been doing in recent tournaments, Wie has what it takes to trouble rivals, but it remains to be seen how she tamps down doubts about her performance.