Wie gives Hawaii a major winner

When Michelle Wie won the U.S. Women’s Open on Sunday, I tried to recall if any other golfer from Hawaii — man or woman — had won a major.

Ann Miller reminded me that David Ishii had won some on the Japan tour.

And she mentioned Jackie Pung.

Ah, yes, Jackie Pung … one of Hawaii’s all-time sports greats, period. Winner of five LPGA tournaments in the 1950s. Famous for celebrating with hula at the 18th green.

She was second at the U.S. Women’s Open in 1953 and tied for third in the LPGA Championship in 1958.

And in 1957 she needed the fewest strokes to finish the U.S. Women’s Open at Winged Foot in New York. But Pung fell victim to one of the worst things that can happen to a golfer — forfeiting victory due to an incorrect scorecard.

As the tournament ended, it seemed Pung had won. And in reality, she had taken one fewer stroke than Betsy Rawls to complete the tournament. The 72 for her final round total on her scorecard was correct, but the 5  for the fourth hole was wrong.

Pung and her playing partner, Betty Jameson, both wrote down 5 for the hole (per the rules, keeping each other’s score), but both actually took 6 strokes to complete the hole.

Although the total score Pung signed for was correct, the scorecard was deemed incorrect and she was disqualified.

Pung was a popular player, and in the ’50s even the top woman pros struggled financially. USGA officials, reporters and fans took up a collection. Reports vary from $2,000 to $4,000 being raised for her. She would have received $1,800 for first place.