Oride edges Cyr for Maui Open crown

Sam Cyr watches his attempt for birdie on No. 8 slide by the cup at The Dunes at Maui Lani on Saturday during the first round of the Maui Open. Cyr finished in second place Sunday, a stroke behind winner Cory Oride. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

KAHULUI — Cory Oride found out he won the Maui Open while waiting in the security line at Kahului Airport on Sunday evening.

Earlier in the day, Oride shot the best round of the tournament, a 2-under-par 70 in the final round at The Dunes at Maui Lani, to finish at 6-over 150.

With 12 golfers left on the course who started the day in front of him, Oride left to catch his flight to Lihue, thinking he would find out where he finished later.

A call from The Maui News informed Oride that he was the winner.

“It feels good,” said Oride, who will receive $6,000 and a custom koa paddle handcrafted by Malama Chun for the win. “That’s cool, that’s cool, yeah, cool.”


Oride’s victory basically happened when Sam Cyr — a former King Kekaulike High School standout, Asian Tour player and the 2010 Maui Open champion — left a long putt on the 18th hole about two inches short but clearly on line.

“No, no, I didn’t know,” Oride said. “This is definitely a first. Yeah, this is definitely a first. … When I was getting a call from a Maui number, I was, for one, I was just hoping it wasn’t to ask where I was because there’s a playoff. This was definitely better news than that, for sure.”

Cyr, playing in the next-to-last group, shot 74 and finished one stroke back at 151. His father Kevin Cyr caddied for the final nine holes on Sunday.

“Oh my gosh, it’s so awesome to be here, to be back home and see the family,” Sam Cyr said. “Obviously it gives me an excuse to come home — I enjoy that. And playing out here, it was such a challenge these last couple days. I didn’t have my ‘A’ game, so it was a grind. And the course is set up so tough, so that was really good.

“Honestly, it was kind of fun, just trying to figure out how to manage it. Today was a little unfortunate, I didn’t putt real well yesterday and today I missed a real short little kick-in. I went to go hit it and I missed it. On the second hole, it was like a gimme that I just muffed. On the last, I left it dead in the heart, short.”

Lana Calibuso-Kwee chips to the fourth green during Saturday’s first round. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Cyr, 36, has moved from playing on the Asian Tour to coaching as his main source of income in the last couple years. One of his pupils, Joohyung Kim, 20, won the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour on Sunday in Greensboro, N.C.

“It was fun to come out and compete, I don’t get to do that as often as I used to,” Cyr said. “It was fun, I enjoyed it and it’s always fun to be home and see everybody, especially all these great juniors. (Maui Lani pro) Scott (Reinhart) and everybody here did an amazing job.

“I’m coaching a young kid here, Tyler (Loree), and my kid won today on the PGA Tour, Joohyung Kim, so I’m super stoked about that. I’ve been working with him for just over two years now and it’s been awesome.”

Oride, 31, a former standout player for Kauai High and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said the playing conditions were not easy this weekend. Saturday’s recorded temperature at Kahului Airport was 96 degrees, breaking a 50-year-old record for the date.

“It’s a tricky golf course — if you’re out of position, then you’re making bogey real easily,” Oride said.

He played in the Maui Open seven years ago, but that was the only time he had ever played the course prior to this weekend.

“It was very satisfying, for sure (to shoot 70). I was still getting to know the course yesterday,” Oride said. “I kind of made a lot of silly mistakes that I was able to clean up today. So, I was pretty pleased to be able to do that. I didn’t remember the course, at all.”

Oride is a full-time professional golfer — he played the Asian Tour and Korean Tour before COVID hit and he plans to go back to that career path soon. He broke a seven-year winless drought with his victory here.

“I gave myself a chance — I just can control what I can control, post a good number and see what happens,” Oride said. “I mean, it was playing tough and nothing is guaranteed out there.”

Chris Shimomura, a former Lahainaluna High School and UH Hilo standout and the last person to win the Maui Open, in 2019, played with Oride on Sunday.

Shimomura, 30, and Oride have known each other since junior golf.

“The course played hard, but he just kept giving himself opportunities, and he took advantage when he gave himself good opportunities,” Shimomura said. “The course, it wasn’t giving a lot, and he just played the right shots at the right time, played real solid. … We’ve played each other before, great guy.”

Shimomura is “back home for a little bit, but I’ve got a couple events that I’m going to fly out to later in the year. I’ve got Q school (for the Canadian Tour) in May.”

Another Mauian, Lana Calibuso-Kwee, was in the final group on Sunday and finished tied for sixth at 156. Her uncle was also in the field, and her grandmother and grandfather walked the course, watching her play on Sunday.

Calibuso-Kwee, a 2021 Baldwin High School graduate, redshirted her freshman year at Texas A&M after she started the year with a sore back.

She returns to school soon and hopes to make the travel squad for the Aggies, a team that was in the NCAA semifinals last spring.

“My lower back was kind of messed up, so I just had to go through this physical therapy plan and I was good second semester, but I just decided to redshirt to save a year,” Calibuso-Kwee said. “It’s been feeling good now — I just have to keep doing my normal routine.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.


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