Nick Mason (right), a University of Hawaii-Hilo
junior won the 7th annual Hilo Invitational
Pro-Am and Golf Tournament Sunday with a five-stroke victory
over professional Joe Phengsavath (right bottom) of
Mason, tied with Mauna Kea Resort’s Kevin Hayashi and
Phengsavath going into Sunday at four under par, fired a
final round three under 68 to finish with a tournament total
seven under par. With the victory, Mason becomes the first
amateur to win capture the title since the revival of this
event back in 1998. Phengsavath had rounds of 67-73 (140),
while professional Aaron Chun finished alone in third with
71-70 (141). Hayashi and 2003 low amateur champion Garrett
Okamura finished the tournament at even par 141.
With the win, Mason picked up a five hundred dollar gift
certificate and a crystal trophy, while Phengsavath pocketed
five thousand dollars for his low professional finish.
The 21-year-old Mason was very excited with his victory on
Sunday and said his play of late has helped him get through
the final round. “I started the last round very good and hit
the ball well. I ran into trouble on back nine, but tried to
stay real patient”, recalls Mason. “I tried to play one shot
at a time and not get ahead of myself”. “Playing with Kevin
and Joe was a great experience, they are great players”,
said the champion.
The entire UH-Hilo golf team was on hand to see Mason be
crowned winner of the tournament. Head coach Earl Tamiya
followed his number one player through out his round and
Mason acknowledged both his coach and team’s presence. “This
means so much to me, I am so thankful to my girlfriend Wendy
(who caddied for him both days) and Coach and my team”.
The weather in Hilo this weekend was so unpredictable that
playing 36 holes was up in the air. The golf course had
trees falling down, sheds blown to pieces and lots of
standing water and debris scattered all over.
Tournament officials were happy with the ending. “It’s
amazing we got this done. All the players got to finish, and
want to thank the golfers for bearing with us during the
storm”, said Lance Taketa, co-chairman of the Hilo