Former Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals first baseman Kila Ka‘aihue has hung up his baseball spikes to be closer to his two children, but that doesn’t mean he’s given up sports completely.
He’s just traded in the wood bat for a set of fairway woods.
At Oahu Country Club Tuesday, the Iolani graduate won his opening round matchup of the 108th Manoa Cup against Bou An Fujieki 2-up.
“This is a lot harder for me,” Ka‘aihue said. “I wish the ball was moving, to be honest with you. It’s fun. It’s a grind, and it’s very similar mentally.”
Not surprisingly, Ka‘aihue can still hit the ball a long way, but many baseball fans wouldn’t recognize the sweet stroke.
The former left-handed slugger plays golf as a righty.
“When I started playing golf, there were no left-handed clubs, so I’m still learning how to play this game right-handed,” he said. “I don’t know where the ball is going to half of the time, but today wasn’t too bad.”
In his first Manoa Cup, Ka‘aihue weathered sporadic downpours that caused a 30-minute rain delay on the final hole of his round. He said his long history with rain delays during his 14-year professional baseball career prepared him for the winds and showers he saw in Nuuanu.
“Definitely. I didn’t really shut down so it was good,” he said. “I knew I had to finish the hole and I’m just happy I got it done.”
Ka‘aihue will tee off in the round of 32 tomorrow at 7:24 a.m. HST. Get the tournament bracket online here.