Down two with three holes to play. It didn’t look great for former University of Hawai’i walk-on quarterback Hunter Hughes, but he saw a glimmer of opportunity. His opponent ‘Iolani soon-to-be senior Jordan Sato had a difficult downhill lie around the 16th green. Sato did nicely to give himself an uphill par putt. Hughes from the green side bunker nearly jarred it. He ends up making par and winning hole.
They go to the 18th with the same score. The youngster leading 1-UP. It’s another short game contest. Both approach shots end up off the green. Both get within six-feet for par. Sato puts a nice roll on his ball but too much pace and lips out. Hughes needs his to force a playoff. He sinks it and celebrates with multiple fist pumps.
Momentum clearly is in the 29-year-old’s corner now. Who ever wins the next hole wins the match. Hughes sticks his approach on the first playoff hole to five feet and hearts the putt for a birdie. Match is over. The lefty wins three of the final four holes for a thrilling come from behind victory, advancing to tomorrow’s Manoa Cup Quarterfinals.
The Open Division remains stacked with names like 2012 champion Matthew Ma, HPU’s reigning freshman of the year, Keita Okada, and Roosevelt alum Kolbe Irei.
The Women’s Division will play the semifinals tomorrow. Jennifer Koga and ‘Iolani’s Nicole Tanoue will go off first at 7 am. Jennifer’s sister Ashley is in the other half of the semifinals. She is taking on Chloe Jang, so there is a chance it is an all Koga Manoa Cup final on Friday.