KAPALUA - The race is clearly on now in Maui Interscholastic League girls golf.
Baldwin High School junior Kaylee Shimizu made sure of that on a stormy Thursday afternoon at the Kapalua Bay Course.
The No. 3 player for the seven-time defending MIL champions completed a 41 a few minutes after teammates Kimberlie Miyamoto and Kirsten Ishikawa each shot 42.
Baldwin High School’s Kimberlie Miyamoto chips to the third green at the Kapalua Bay Course during the Bears’ 125-129 victory over the Lahainaluna Lunas on Thursday. Kaylee Shimizu shot a 41 for Baldwin, while Miyamoto and Kirsten Ishikawa each shot 42.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Caitlyn Villatora shot a 38 to lead Lahainaluna.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
It added up to a 125-129 win for the Bears, who improved to 4-2 in the MIL while dropping the Lunas to 5-1. Maui High, which ended Baldwin's MIL-record 52-match winning streak last month, is also 5-1.
"I didn't expect to - Kimberlie and Kirsten are always helping me out on the course," Shimizu said. "I really respect them and I really look up to both of them."
Just two days earlier on the same course, the Lunas handed the Bears their second loss 129-130.
Baldwin 125, Lahainaluna 129
KS Maui vs. Seabury Hall, not reported
Lahainaluna vs. Maui High at Waiehu Municipal Golf Course, 3:30 p.m.
Baldwin vs. Seabury Hall at The Dunes at Maui Lani, 3:30 p.m.
On Thursday, the Lunas held a five-stroke lead after the first foursome finished the front nine of the Bay Course - Caitlyn Villatora fired a 38 and twin sister Caylyn Villatora shot 41 in the group with Miyamoto and Ishikawa.
Lahainaluna's Jennifer Mentz shot 50 and Ennah Cabading carded a 54. Baldwin's Erin Kobayashi shot 50.
Girls teams count the best three cards of four designated scorers.
Shimizu said the rain that caught the players in a downpour late in the round added to the difficulties.
"It's a very challenging course and it was very difficult, but I did my best," Shimizu said. "I believe in our team."
Baldwin coach Kenny Houpo breathed a sigh of relief when his third player delivered the win.
"She has been actually playing pretty good lately," Houpo said of Shimizu. "It was lucky that we had her score today. When we lost Tuesday, she still shot a 40. To put out a 41 today in these conditions, she is actually staying consistent."
The momentary torrential rain caught the teams off-guard.
"I think it was really rough," Houpo said. "It came down soaking wet and we weren't ready for the rain either. There was no umbrellas that we had in our pockets, so to actually pull off a 125, we have to take it."
Caitlyn Villatora said she is looking forward to the rest of the season. The Lunas next play Maui High, which features defending MIL individual champion Kristeena Locke.
"I can't wait to play with Maui High," she said. "Today was hard, but it was an expected match from players who are just that good. I'm looking forward to just breaking 40 and continue to be breaking 40."
Lunas coach Laura Jones said her team will lean on their sophomore twins the rest of the way.
"Coming into it I knew that they were going to score really well because they play well at Kapalua and they have been playing fantastic all season," Jones said of the Villatoras. "One's a lefty, one's a righty and they are both sophomores, so going into it I knew it was going to be close with (Baldwin's top) two. It was just who was going to come up with that third score."
Jones said the race is just beginning.
"We have got Maui High next week, so next week's going to be even tighter and determine who is going to be leading it going into the second half of the season," she said. "That's the way we want to look at it."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org