Chiarella takes Maui Open title

Seabury Hall graduate edges Calip on final hole for second victory

Alex Chiarella hits his drive off the 17th tee as caddie Jake Grodzinsky looks on during the final round of the Maui Open on Sunday at The Dunes at Maui Lani. The Maui News / ROBERT COLLIAS photo

Alex Chiarella hits his drive off the 17th tee as caddie Jake Grodzinsky looks on during the final round of the Maui Open on Sunday at The Dunes at Maui Lani. The Maui News / ROBERT COLLIAS photo

WAILUKU — The last time Alex Chiarella won the Maui Open, he could not accept any prize money, as he had a college career at the University of San Diego waiting.

This time, he will gladly take home the $5,000 paycheck.

Chiarella sank a dramatic 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Sunday at The Dunes at Maui Lani for a one-stroke victory over Nainoa Calip. Chiarella shot 4-over-par 76 in tough wind conditions to finish at 5-over 149.

“I knew it was me versus Nai-noa,” Chiarella said. “He had about a 20-footer from just off the green — my buddy Jake (Grodzinsky) came out and caddied for me today, which was nice of him. We had a nice read, just on the right side of the hole and hit a good putt and it went in. It felt great. It feels unbelievable, I’m excited.”

The victory is Chiarella’s first individual win since that 2012 Maui Open, which came on the heels of a second straight Maui Interscholastic League championship as a Seabury Hall senior.

Nainoa Calip watches his shot on the 17th hole Sunday. The Maui News / ROBERT COLLIAS photo

Nainoa Calip watches his shot on the 17th hole Sunday. The Maui News / ROBERT COLLIAS photo

“You just have to stay within yourself and know that a putt will fall at some point and luckily it did at 18,” Chiarella said.

His immediate future includes several West Coast events and then Web.com Tour qualifying, which starts in October.

Chiarella started the day one shot behind first-round leader Todd Rego, who was in the final group with Chiarella and Calip, who was two back.

That changed quickly as Rego sputtered out of the starting gate and Chiarella grabbed the lead that grew as large as five strokes. Chiarella’s lead was still two shots before Calip birdied 13 while Chiarella hit his drive out of bounds and made double bogey.

They both parred the 14th and 15th holes to leave Calip up by one before drama played out on the par-5 16th. Chiarella hit his drive to the right side into the trees and was forced to whack at his second shot without being able to see the green.

His ball came out of the trouble well, but was wide to the left of the green and caught a ride on the cart path — instead of being just off the green pin high, he had to take a free drop to get away from the cement path.

His blind uphill chip landed about 8 feet from the hole and he sank the putt to tie Calip, who lipped out his birdie try.

“I couldn’t believe my ball rolled down the cart path that far,” Chiarella said. “Luckily I was able to take a drop, I got a pretty good lie, got some spin on and got it to within 6 feet of the hole maybe.”

Chiarella reached the par-4 17th with his drive, but then three-putted from about 80 feet. Calip again lipped out an 8-foot birdie try, sending them to the 18th all square.

It all ended after Chiarella calmly sank his 25-foot putt — after reading it with Grodzinsky — and Calip failed to make his putt from about 15 feet away just off the back of the green.

“So much fun,” said the 25-year-old Calip, a former University of Hawaii standout who was recently hired as a professional at Waikoloa. “Golf is a little different now. I just come out here to have fun. It’s not so much as a profession anymore, but, man so much fun. Those feelings, that’s what I’m here for. It was a great final stretch and Alex played great.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Maui Open

Sunday’s Final Round

At The Dunes at Maui Lani

Championship

Alex Chiarella 73-76–149

Nainoa Calip 74-76–150

Donny Hopoi 82-70–152

Justin Arcano 78-76–154

Kevin Shimomura 76-78–154

Marcus Judge 77-77–154

James Horton 75-80–155

Juan Rodriguez 78-77–155

Todd Rego 72-84–156

Chad Lee 80-80–160

Christopher Calibuso 80-80–160

Ryan Acosta 85-75–160

Alex Omer 81-80–161

Ariel Elfman-Hanson 79-82–161

Tim Patrizio 79-82–161

Chris Shimomura 80-82–162

Johnathan Galarita 83-79–162

Kyeton Littel 84-78–162

Adam Quandt 82-81–163

Dillon Soldwisch 80-83–163

Hayden Williamson 78-85–163

Justin Ngan 83-80–163

Kirsten Ishikawa 80-83–163

David Saka 80-84–164

Rick Tramontin 77-87–164

Shaun Downie 87-77–164

Elliot Gouveia 80-85–165

Justin Newsome 82-83–165

Bryce Iwasaki 80-87–167

David Gerken 84-83–167

Kelii Dias 84-83–167

Jordan Terada 86-83–169

Kyle Hayashi 88-81–169

Dan Kendrick Dumo 86-84–170

Brett Furutani 80-91–171

Andre’ Bedard 86-86–172

Brian Robertson 88-84–172

Chris Black 88-85–173

Jason Finegan 85-89–174

Trenton Chang 85-89–174

Anson Almeida 92-85–177

Beau Johnston 90-87–177

Spencer Shishido 87-92–179

Senior Flight

Eddie Lee 81-73–154

Raymond Tendo 79-77–156

David Goode 79-78–157

Rohn Stark 78-80–158

Lee Sakugawa 77-82–159

Mark Shimamura 77-82–159

Nelson Domingo 77-82–159

Lance Taketa 78-82–160

Lee Hardy 79-81–160

Ben Hongo 82-79–161

Ivan Cunningham 78-83–161

William Lathem 80-83–163

Ben Thomas 83-84–167

Marc Stevens 85-83–168

Richard Gillette 80-88–168

Bradley Bowen 84-85–169

Clive Kegel 80-90–170

Michael Rich 88-84–172

Neal Labang 88-85–173

Glenn Yamasaki 91-86–177

Jon Yokouchi 93-85–178

Stephen Molina 94-91–185

James Triche 91-97–188

Mario Chajon 98-92–190

Eddie Niemeyer 95-97–192

Super Senior Flight

Dean Prince 81-75–156

Dugal Milne 77-80–157

Clif Council 77-81–158

Alan Grodzinsky 80-80–160

John Bryant 81-79–160

Bruce Erfer 77-88–165

Lloyd Komoda 82-84–166

Doug Stacy 87-81–168

Robert Ota 81-87–168

Malama Chun 91-84–175

Dickie Moon 87-90–177

Wendell Reinking 101-94–195

A Flight (net)

Joy Callinan 75-75–150

Brian Inouye 75-72–147

Joseph Delaginte Jr. 82-68–150

Alfred Layer 76-71–147

Christopher Han 70-83–153

Glenn Ono 77-67–144

Gregg Wada 67-81–148

Wesley Decoite 78-74–152

Bryon Sattler 74-79–153

Rick Colletto 76-76–152

Dillon Ikaika Jonke 78-73–151

Mira Jang 73-85–158

Caleb Blaine Chumley 70-87–157

Jimmy Durham 72-83–155

William Siphers 86-78–164

Eunice Han 73-76–149

Joe Farias Jr. 76-81–157

Jeremy Taraya 82-85–167

Joseph Pavon 82-76–158

George Reinhardt 85-84–169

Leah Han 79-84–163

Oliver Ignacio 80-76–156

Tyler Jerhoff 78-80–158

Hudson Jackson 83-80–163

Soon Sik Jang 72-83–155

Max Han 80-86–166

Ernie Cronkite 89-82–171

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