WAIEHU - Baldwin High School's Ariel Elftman-Hanson and Kimberlie Miyamoto found themselves in unfamiliar territory in the Maui Interscholastic League individual golf championships Saturday at Waiehu Municipal Golf Course, but were definitely happy to be there.
Elftman-Hanson shot a bogey-free, 2-under-par 70 to take the boys first-round lead, while Miyamoto posted a 75 to top the girls competition.
Miyamoto said that owning the lead was "a shock." Baldwin held the top four spots - Jennifer Morikawa had a 76, and Marissa Uradomo and Kalea Heu each carded 78s.
ARIEL ELFTMAN-HANSON, on the top of the leaderboard
"Usually I'm not on the top of the leaderboard, so it feels different," the sophomore said. "I feel a little proud of myself I guess, and at the same time it took a lot of hard work to get to where I shot today. That's the lowest I ever shot this season. Usually during practice I shoot in the 80s."
Elftman-Hanson, a sophomore, was two shots in front of Seabury Hall's Alex Chiarella, who won the title in 2010, and Kamehameha Maui's Lucas Park. The Warriors' Aaron Kunitomo, the defending champ, opened with a 73.
"I've never really been in this position before - it's an indescribable feeling," Elftman-Hanson said.
"The difference today was my mind. My mind was solely on making good, solid shots, and I thank my coach for that."
The round also provided a bit of redemption for Elftman-Hanson, whose team lost to Kamehameha on Thursday in a playoff for the league's team championship.
The Warriors automatically qualified their top five players for the state tournament as MIL champions. The individual tournament - four rounds for the boys, five for the girls - will decide the league's final berths at Kauai's Wailua Golf Course.
"We were pretty disappointed," Elftman-Hanson said of his team's loss to the Warriors. "We felt we had a good chance coming into the playoff, but that's golf."
He said that he and his teammates are now focused on qualifying for the state tournament.
"The loss just kind of gave us momentum to get back on our feet and do well. I know we're all a team, but everyone is also an individual, and you're kind of on your own now. It's a whole lot of pressure."
He added that there is still "a whole lot of golf ahead" before the state tournament.
"It's going to be a tough four rounds, so I just have to keep my head up high and use the momentum from today,"
Elftman-Hanson said. "It gives me a whole lot of confidence - I have the confidence that I know I can shoot under par in the tournament."
Miyamoto also hopes she can build off her strong start.
"I have a little more confidence, because going into it I was really nervous and scared. There's so much girls and they have so much talent and it's just really competitive between all of us," she said. "At least I know I can shoot a score like that, but I still have four more days, so I've just got to keep thinking positive and try not to let go of myself."
The Baldwin girls won the MIL team title, extending their winning streak in league matches to 41.
Horikawa, a senior, joined the Bears two years ago, typically shooting "somewhere in the 100s." On Saturday, she posted the lowest score of her high school career.
"It's shocking and it still surprises me right now, because I would never think to see my name up there at the top. It's just a moment I just want to capture," she said. "I've come a long way, and it's nice to come back from that and be where I know my game should be at."
Horikawa couldn't explain her massive improvement.
"My mentality was bogey golf, but today I just ended up parring holes and the hole just got in the way. I would like to be in the 80s, but 76 is fine," she joked.
* Lehia Apana is at email@example.com
MIL INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
|Saturday’s First Round|
|At Waiehu Municipal Golf Course|
|Kimberlie Miyamoto, Baldwin||35-40—75|
|Jennifer Horikawa, Baldwin||38-38—76|
|Lydia Higa, Baldwin||38-39—77|
|Kalea Heu, Baldwin||39-39—78|
|Marissa Uradomo, Baldwin||39-39—78|
|Shannon Abarra, Kamehameha Maui||38-41—79|
|Kristin Ishikawa, Baldwin||39-41—80|
|Nicole Umeno, Kekaulike||41-40—81|
|Bianca Armanini, Baldwin||42-40—82|
|Taylor Akamine, Maui High||46-42—88|
|Michiko Smith, Lahainaluna||46-42—88|
|Kaylee Shimizu, Baldwin||44-45—89|
|Kodi Joyo, Kamehameha Maui||46-44—90|
|Nicole Nagamine, Kamehameha Maui||44-48—92|
|Ayesha Delima, Kekaulike||46-50—96|
|Shaina Hipolito, Kamehameha Maui||46-51—97|
|Erin Kobayashi, Baldwin||50-49—99|
|Tyler Charbonneau, Baldwin||51-49—100|
|Dayna Yoshimura, Maui High||52-53—105|
|Lena Knue, Baldwin||53-52—105|
|Sierra Sacapanio-Alexander, Maui High||53-55—108|
|Kate-Lynn Uaiwa-Brown, Maui High||64-58—122|
|Bailey Pendergast, Lahainaluna||58-68—126|
|Ennah Cabading, Lahainaluna||68-59—127|
|Sabrina Armijo, Lahainaluna||58-74—132|
|Tyler Pascua, Lanai||70-70—140|
|Kiana Yuen, Baldwin||79-71—150|
|Jennifer Mentz, Lahainaluna||76-80—156|
|Chloe Nakagawa, Kekaulike||91-98—189|
|Ariel Hanson, Baldwin||35-35—70|
|Alex Chiarella, Seabury Hall||35-37—72|
|Lucas Park, Kamehameha Maui||38-34—72|
|Aaron Kunitomo, Kamehameha Maui||36-37—73|
|Jameson Keiley, Baldwin||38-37—75|
|Kyten Little, Kamehameha Maui||38-38—76|
|Tyler Munetake, Baldwin||38-38—76|
|Zachary Taylor, Maui High||37-39—76|
|Geoffrey Guillot, Baldwin||39-38—77|
|Drake Onaga, Kekaulike||38-40—78|
|Jordan Hinau, Baldwin||39-40—79|
|Tyler Armijo, Lahainaluna||41-38—79|
|Matt Vanni, Baldwin||40-39—79|
|Lucas Bell, Lahainaluna||42-38—80|
|Malu Rosenthal, Lahainaluna||37-44—81|
|Justin Ohta, Baldwin||40-41—81|
|Steffan Yuen, Kekaulike||41-41—82|
|Jacob Pu‘u, Kamehameha Maui||42-41—83|
|Devon Vea, Maui High||41-44—85|
|Rhett Wiseman, Lahainaluna||39-46—85|
|Brandon Molina, Baldwin||43-43—86|
|Dawud Moragne, Seabury Hall||42-45—87|
|Thomas Hamrick, Baldwin||40-47—87|
|Keanu Chang, Baldwin||44-44—88|
|Kerek Franz, Lahainaluna||48-40—88|
|Reyn Stisher, Seabury Hall||43-45—88|
|Lance Ito, Lahainaluna||41-48—89|
|Jake Horton, Lahainaluna||44-46—90|
|Kamuela Borge, Kamehameha Maui||48-45—93|
|Mitchel Dutro, Kekaulike||44-50—94|
|Johnathan Bach, Baldwin||46-48—94|
|Ikaika Vierra, Baldwin||49-48—97|
|Aron Graziano, Seabury Hall||54-46—100|
|Chase Baker, Maui High||52-50—102|
|Ian Bingham, Maui High||48-58—106|
|A.J. Ramelb, Kekaulike||50-57—107|
|Hunter Ramelb, Lahainaluna||51-62—113|
|Blake Ramelb, Lahainaluna||61-61—122|
|Max Hurd, Seabury Hall||54-68—122|