Okinawa golf, cross country, tennis teams brace for district finals

Kadena senior Noelle Asato, the Panthers' No. 1 girls seed, begins the battle for Okinawa district singles tennis honors Friday on the Panthers' home courts, then again Monday and Wednesday at Kubasaki.


By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 13, 2020

CHIBANA, Okinawa – There they were, Bryce Tobin and Beau Black, back in their customary 1-2 spots following another Thursday round on one of Okinawa’s military golf courses.

Next time the seniors meet, it will be on a Tuesday for the first time this season, with Okinawa district bragging rights on the line at Kadena Air Base’s 6,369-yard, par-72 Banyan Tree Golf Club.

“Me and Bryce have been head-to-head all season and we’ve both made game-winning putts on each other, so I’m excited to play him one last time,” said Black, of Kadena. He beat Tobin in match play to open the season Oct. 7; Tobin answered in team stroke play the last two weeks.

Speaking after edging Black 33-35 Thursday at Chibana’s 1,266-yard par-3 course, Kubasaki’s Tobin said he wasn’t taking anything for granted.

“Golf is such a dynamic game,” he said. “You can have a great (day) one week and a terrible (day) the next. We’ll just have to see next week.”

Okinawa’s district golf finals are sandwiched between the first two days and the last day of the district tennis finals, the first day Friday at Kadena and the last two Monday and Wednesday at Kubasaki. Cross country begins the week of district finals Friday at Kadena.

The tennis and golf matchups also serve as the final events of the season as there are no Far East golf championships and the tennis equivalent was canceled this year due to concerns of spreading the coronavirus.

Tobin, Black and the full Panthers and Dragons rosters will go at it Tuesday on Banyan Tree’s back nine.

It’s a monster, with the 581-yard, par-5 10th leading it off, where you either risk driving over trees and brush toward a green you can’t see from the tee or play it safe, drive to the right but much further from the green, at which point a bogey-6 is considered a good hole.

Par-3 short holes at Chibana “aren’t really my strong suit,” Black said, “so going back to holes where I can take advantage of hitting farther is going to be interesting.”

Black outdistanced Tobin 45-54 in team stroke play in the rain on Nov. 7 at Banyan, the only time they played that course this season. “Next week, there’ll be a few players who’ve had no experience playing that back nine,” Tobin said.

Friday is the first day of Okinawa district tennis, a double-elimination singles event. The final regular-season cross country meet takes place at Kubasaki that same afternoon, with Kubasaki senior Arthur Parra trying to maintain his season’s unbeaten streak.

The Okinawa cross country championship on Nov. 20 will also serve as the Kadena and Kubasaki entries into the virtual Far East championships as the event will be filmed and sent along as DODEA compiles results to determine champions.

Elsewhere in cross country, Daegu on Saturday hosts the second of three scheduled DODEA-Korea meets. It will be the last one for Warriors coach Kevin Anglim before he transfers to his new post at Matthew C. Perry’s assistant principal.

Osan tennis hosts Humphreys on Friday and Daegu on Saturday. Boys volleyball has Daegu visiting Osan on Friday and hosting Humphreys on Saturday, while the Warriors girls host the Cougars on Friday and travel to play the Blackhawks on Saturday.

Twitter @ornauerdave

Kubasaki senior Willow Lewis, the Dragons' No. 1 girls seed, begins the battle for Okinawa district singles tennis honors Friday at Kadena, then again Monday and Wednesday on the Dragons' home courts.