A Sony Open first: Silence on the green disrupted by missile false alarm

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's rude to make noise during a round of golf, especially for the spectators looking on.

There are designated employees whose job is to ensure that there is silence among the masses so that the players can concentrate on hitting the ball with precision. But on Saturday, there was no silence on the green. And no one seemed bothered by it.

Spectators, players and event staff could be heard murmuring in disbelief by the false ballistic missile warning that sent the entire state into a frenzy.

"That kind of stuff never happens. And when it did, it was quite a shocker," said Kapolei resident Arvin Agcopra.

Agcopra attended the third round of the 2018 Sony Open late Saturday morning with his friend, Tim Cantere, who noticed his phone screaming beside him as he drove to pick up Agcopra.

"I was on the road, and I was like, 'Oh my God, do I need to go to the store now, or how do I prepare, how do I call my wife, how do I call my daughter?' So yeah, it was scary."

Scary things can happen at any given moment throughout the day, but those scary moments are usually brief. But at 8:07 a.m. on Saturday, time stood still.

"It was the longest 30 minutes," Agcopra said. "Because all you were thinking about were all these scenarios in your head, like if it hits, doesn't hit, what does this mean for the military to go to war, there's so many scenarios going through everyone's head. Especially the families."

The way Saturday began was unlike anything that most in attendance of this year's Sony Open had experienced before. And the last thing anyone cared about was a round of golf.

Justin Thomas finished the third round of the tournament just like he would for any other round: Sinking a short putt on hole No. 18, a tip of his cap to the hands and an exchange of pleasantries with his competitors.

Even the way his morning began wasn't out of the norm, until one of his close friends contacted him.

"There was nothing that I could do. It was either going to happen, or it wasn't," Thomas said after his round. "I actually never got the alert on my phone for some reason. One of my buddies sent it to me."

Thomas was able to pick up the phone and talk to someone on the other end of the line - something that Cantere tried desperately to accomplish.

"Calling my daughter on the phone and her not answering, those two-three minutes became the longest two-three minutes of my life," Cantere said.

But eventually, those two-three minutes passed by and Cantere was able to get in contact with his loved ones. And eventually, those near-40 minutes of stress, tears and helplessness were over once the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent out the all clear that it was a false alarm.

"It was like any surreal moment that you've ever gone through," said Nuuanu resident Jordan Smith. "Like, is this happening? What's going on? Am I still in a dream? Am I still trying to wake up? Our phones are just screaming. What's going on?"

Half-awake, Jordan and his wife, Lauren, were awoken by loud screeching.

No, it wasn't their newborn baby making all the fuss; it was their mobile phones ringing and vibrating like the world was ending.

Because for a few moments, they didn't know if there was going to be a tomorrow.

"Our calls weren't going through. We tried calling our parents, we tried 911 too but they were all busy," Lauren said. "We tried our friend that's on the marine base to see if she knew anything more, and that was the first call that went through. And she didn't know anything more than we did. Your reaction is grab the baby, grab food, grab water, just anything that we can find … it's definitely scary. It makes you realize how could you be more prepared."

But even with the scare, that didn't stop Jordan and Lauren from enjoying their day out in the sun.

"It's a beautiful day, man," Jordan said with a shrug.

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