Sometimes, it is hardly new, yet it still qualifies as news.
That would be the case with Kevin Hayashi, the 56-year-old professional at Hilo Municipal and Makani golf courses here on the Big Island.
Hayashi was named the Aloha Section Player of the Year after outscoring all others in the seven tournaments he entered in 2018, and he was also named the Senior Player of the Year.
That makes it an even dozen times Hayashi has been POY, and the sixth time he’s been recognized as Senior Player of the Year. Like the rest of us, Hayashi ages but the awards don’t get old.
“To be honest,” he said this week, “I think I appreciate it a little more as I get older. It’s good to know you can still work your way around the course.”
In 2018, Hayashi was on the winning team at the Big Island Candies Team Championships at The Club at Hokuli’a and accrued 772 points to again win the POY title but now he’s juggling the proverbial golf balls in preparation for the Big Island Invitational from March 29-31, which, for the first time, will be held at Makani on the Kona side.
It was always intended to be a Hilo tournament but lots of wet weather in the last six months has left the course in need of repairs, which is being done.
“I just want it to be right,” he said, “I don’t want it (at Hilo Muni) just to keep it here, I want a good course, ready to be played.”
His tips for those who haven’t played Makani could be summed up under the heading of tighten up your game.
“Hit your driver straight, that’s the first thing,” he said. “That’s good anywhere, but at Makani, you do need to be a little more precise because there are a lot of birdies out there, but there’s also a lot of water (hazards), so don’t get carried away.
“People will have fun on the signature 17th (a green on an island, similar to Sawgrass), but in general, they should know it’s a little cooler, kind of like the course at Volcano, but don’t worry about the wind too much.”
Makani means wind, but while it looks like it would be a windswept course high above the ocean, looks can be deceiving.
“Not really a big factor at all,” Hayashi said. “It’s different from the lower ocean courses. It’s a fun course to play, but watch it, it can take a bite out of you if you’re careless.”
Still On The Run: Former Waiakea High School cross-country runner Ian McQuate headed off to Nova Southeastern University in South Florida to pursue a higher level of competition at a smaller school that has a big time cross-country program.
All of that worked out, but McQuate isn’t done.
When he announced his collegiate decision in the newspaper, McQuate pointed out Nova Southeastern was “a long ways away.”
Now he’s off to Ireland where he will attend the University of Limerick while working on his masters in sports performance.
McQuate won the BIIF cross country title as a senior and was a double gold winner in track and field as a junior. His education was paid for after he made the Dean’s list with a 4.0, received a presidential scholarship and an athletic grant.
He was a standout for the Sharks, their top runner in his last three conference meets. McQuate recorded a personal best of 16:33.3 in the 5K and a 26:13.0 in the 8K.
When he finishes his studies, he’ll have this discipline “mastered.”
Little Big Time: Ok, that isn’t the real name, but that’s the concept of the Hilo Mini Big futsal tournament that will be contested Jan. 25-27 at Edith Kanaka’ole Multipurpose Stadium and represents the unofficial start of youth soccer for the new year.
Granted, it isn’t precisely soccer, as futsal is played indoors and, unlike indoor soccer, doesn’t involve walls, but it does use a weighted ball that is easier to control on the hard surface.
This year, about 45 teams, boys and girls, are expected to be entered, one of those teams being Na Hoa O Puna boys, coached by Rico Ferrari, who runs his own futsal league and has had teams in the Mini Big for 12 years.
“It’s really a good way to get better technically,” Ferrari said. “It is a smaller playing field, obviously, everything happens fast but because the ball is weighted, it’s not out-of-control.
“You can really develop ball skills,” he said, “and they are transferable to the bigger field.”
The smaller playing surface might suggest there’s more standing around, because there’s not as much running room, but the opposite is more often the case.
“It’s a fast-paced game and you’re always in the middle of the action,” Ferrari said. “You have to think quick and react — great training.”
The annual tournament was moved up a few years ago from Super Bowl weekend to the end of January.
Teams play 20 minute games in pool play until the knockout rounds begin when games are 25 minutes.
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