Na takes Anuenue title
KAPALUA – After being in a tie atop the field with two rounds to play, Grace Na said she would not pay attention to any imaginary leaderboards until the last nine holes of the Anuenue Spring Break Classic.
The Pepperdine junior did eight holes better than that Wednesday on her way to winning the women’s college golf tournament at the Kapalua Bay Course.
As she reached the 18th green with a birdie putt awaiting, she had a feeling she was at or near the front, though she had resisted the temptation to ask her position all day.
“Oh yeah, most definitely, I was conscious of (the lead), especially with you following me for a couple of holes there. I thought, ‘I have got to be up there somewhere,’ ” said Na, whose 4-under-par 68 left her at 10-under 206 for the tournament – five shots clear of second-round leader Tonje Daffinrud of Denver. “Until the last hole, I just focused on my same routine that I had on No. 1 the first day. Not until the last hole, I asked my coach, ‘Do I need to be aggressive with this putt to have a chance of winning?’ She’s like, ‘Nope, you’re good. Get it in there.’ “
The two-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year earned her third collegiate win, but first since taking the WCC title as a freshman.
“My goal isn’t to win every tournament, it is to learn something from it,” Na said. “I am hoping to have a bigger future in the LPGA, so this definitely feels good, but I will always stay patient.”
Daffinrud closed with a 74. Arizona State’s Noemi Jimenez (71) and Washington’s SooBin Kim (67) tied for third, another stroke behind.
Na’s win moved her up one spot, to 10th, on Golfstat.com’s national rankings. The field had 10 players in the top 60 entering the event. Jimenez is now ranked sixth and Kim seventh.
UCLA claimed the team title – Wednesday’s 12-under 276 left the Bruins at 10-under 854, four shots better than Washington (285) and eight better than Arizona State (280). UCLA’s final round was the best of the tournament by four strokes, and the Bruins are now ranked 11th by Golfstat, one spot behind Washington.
Cassy Isagawa of Oregon finished in a tie for 12th after a 2-under 70 left the Baldwin High School graduate even for the event at 216, best among the field’s former Maui Interscholastic League competitors.
“I just kind of told myself, ‘Have fun, it’s the last day, just play your best,’ ” Isagawa said. “I know I kind of struggled on the final few holes for the first few rounds, so I just wanted to finish strong today.”
The Ducks placed fifth as a team, and have one tournament left before the Pac-12 championships, where Isagawa finished in a tie for seventh last year on the way to first-team All-America honors.
Oregon missed the NCAA tournament by a single stroke last season.
“I was struggling the last few tournaments, so it is starting to come around,” Isagawa said. “Hopefully we keep improving from here. Definitely, nationals is our goal.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org